December 6: Palko v. Connecticut Names Your Most Important Rights

  On December 6, 1937, the United States Supreme Court handed down a decision that had a lasting impact on how American courts interpreted and applied the fundamental freedoms found in the Bill of Rights.  The landmark case, Palko v. Connecticut, specifically involved the application of the Fifth Amendment, which protects accused parties against double…

October 1: Same-Sex Civil Unions Become Law in Connecticut

  On October 1, 2005, Connecticut became the third state in the union to legally recognize same-sex civil unions.  Four years earlier, Vermont became the first state to do so after the Vermont Supreme Court mandated that denying same-sex couples the benefits of marriage violated their state constitution. In 2004, Massachusetts’s Supreme judicial court similarly…

August 24: Capture of the Slave Ship Amistad

  In early 1839, Portuguese slave traders captured dozens of native Mende Africans from the territory of modern-day Sierra Leone — technically, in violation of several international treaties — and sold them to two Spaniards in the slave markets of Havana, Cuba.  On July 1, while en route to nearby plantations aboard the Spaniards’ schooner…

July 2: Connecticut Refuses to Fight in War of 1812

  It would be an understatement to say that the War of 1812 was unpopular in Connecticut. As a region, New England as a whole was fiercely opposed to the War of 1812, which they viewed as a frivolous and economically disastrous war waged by President James Madison against the British Empire.  But Connecticut in…

June 23: Eminent Domain Redefined in New London

  On June 23, 2005, the U.S. Supreme Court decided Kelo v. City of New London, a case that redefined — and vastly expanded — the permissible boundaries of eminent domain in the United States. In the year 2000, the New London Development Corporation, acting under the city’s authority, moved to seize over 100 privately-held…

June 7: Establishing A Constitutional Right to Privacy

    Today in 1965, the U.S. Supreme Court established a constitutional “right to privacy” for Americans by overturning a 92-year-old Connecticut law that outlawed the use of birth control. Back in 1873, during the apex of the Victorian era in the United States, Congress passed the Comstock Law, which outlawed “the circulation of obscene…