Right to Privacy or NOT

The right to privacy as we have learned in the previous lecture is not mention in the US Constitution, so the question arises “Do we (the citizens of the United States) have the right to privacy?

In the Bill of Rights there are several amendments that could be taken into interpretation to justify the right of privacy. The amendments are as follows:

Although the constitution doesn’t have a crystal clear definition on the right to privacy it has protected and open new paths to controversial cases. In Roe v. Wade , 1969 a high school drop who had a five year old daughter and was seeking an abortion in Texas where it was prohibited at that time was ruled 7-2.  Justice Blackhum announcing, “Appellant would discover this right in the concept of personal “liberty” embodied in the Fourteenth Amendment’s Due Process Clause; or in personal, martial, familial, and sexual privacy said to be protected by the Bill of Rights or its penumbras”.

Bowers v. Hardwick, 1982 Michael Hardwick was arrested after his roommate open the door and allowed a police officer to enter his home not knowing Michael was in his bedroom with another male and the majority decision was 5-4. Michael was charged with violating Georgia statue criminalizing sodomy but “the mere fact that intimate behavior may be punished hen it takes place in public cannot dictate how States can regulate intimate behavior that occurs in intimate place…”.

In our previous readings Griswold v. Connecticut, Judge Goldberg stated, “The Ninth amendment simply shows the intent of the Constitution’s authors that other fundamental persons rights should not be denied such protection or disparaged in any other way simply because they are not specifically listed in the first eight constitutional amendments….”  Depending on whether you are an originalist or a textualist you could argue that there are privacy laws that protect the citizens or not. Judge Scalia being the textualist that he is publically declared on MSNBC in 2012 while being interview by Chris Wallace that, “there is no right to privacy. No generalized right to privacy.”

These important cases I have touched upon explore how vague the interpretation of right to privacy can be.  Depending who you  encounter they can be quick to point that the right to privacy is stated in the bill of rights and use the above amendments I have shared to battle their case.  While the contrary side will be strict to the constitutional meaning and point out that nowhere does it state that the citizens of the United States have the right to privacy; unless we fight to enumerate new legislation that will benefit citizens to the right of privacy.






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7 Responses to Right to Privacy or NOT

  1. imdebock says:

    Thanks for your post. Your question as to whether we have right to privacy can be answered with common sense. Even though we do not have the right to privacy in the constitution, those who enforce and implement the law like the police know that they need their privacy too. Since they have the power to do what they see fit, they deliberately don’t see the implications in cases of privacy. It is time to bring the privacy topic to public debate and if possible make legislations to secure people’s privacy. What puzzles me is that in most official documents, there is a portion clearly stipulating right to privacy but yet it is not legislated. Any reasonable judge being originalist or textualist can use his common sense in an empathic way to decide the importance of the right to privacy. Thanks.

  2. abdelrafat says:

    Great post. The right to privacy in the eyes of a textualist may not seem clear but, to anyone who interprets our founders writings, it is clear that a right to privacy is stated or at a very minimum implied. As Americans we are granted the right to “Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” Life, in my definition implies the ability for a person to live in a manner that they choose for themselves. Rights to privacy may be taken away without an individual knowing of it. For example, Hillary Clinton’s emails have recently been brought to light due to a violation of privacy. Although Clinton has chosen a life in politics, an arena where all of her actions are being scrutinized and monitored, she nonetheless has the same right to privacy as any one of us. As a citizen I believe we need more rights to privacy, the NSA monitoring our phone calls and emails is a blatant violation of privacy. Privacy laws should be set in place to keep government hands out of our private lives.

  3. cacunni1 says:

    I would not go so far as to say that a right to privacy is what was intended during the writing of the constitution. During the writing of the constitution, the founders argued extensively about what to put into the constitution and what to leave out. This is not to say that they are infallible. In our modern era, a right to privacy seems both forthright and necessary. However, the constitution also does not give the Supreme Court the ability to make decisions regarding whether or not things are constitutional or not EITHER. It seems to me that the judicial system has a tendency to fill in the cracks in civil controversies, rather than pointing them out to the public. Ironically though, if the Supreme Court did do its job and merely point out the hypocrisy of certain laws rather than filling in holes, the general public would be outraged at the Supreme Court rather than the lawmakers who pass ridiculous laws. The right to privacy NEEDS to be in the constitution. The only way the public would push such legislation is if they directly saw the need for such legislation.

    • legomez5 says:

      In the constitution, it has been stated that the right to privacy is not explicitly stated. Outrageous as it may sound, it holds true. The right to privacy seems to be an “implied right” that we as citizens have. Privacy is a must have. Mostly all the citizens of America, would agree that they are entitled to some privacy. Despite this necessity for privacy, our law of the land does not, word per word, mention that citizens have a right to this privacy. I can only assume but, to me it seems like privacy is something everyone would like to have a part of, even the framers. So why leave it out? Did they forget? Did they purposefully leave it out? Was it not as important back then? Did they not fear the invasion of privacy, like we do today? For whatever reason, i believe amending the constitution to not only grant, but also define privacy.

  4. wdaghist says:

    I really liked reading your post. I highly think that the right of privacy has to be in the constitution and must protect the privacy of the the people in many areas. One of the areas that I think it highly needs that is online privacy. Internet users must take some legal actions to prevent the collection of their information because most of them are being tracked. Another area is the privacy of publicity. I think that since people have the right to keep their personal information private, they also have the right to control the use of their identities for commercial purposes. I think unauthorized use of people’s identities is an invasion of privacy

  5. smbockrath says:

    I had a great time reading about this post, and thinking about whether or not I believe that there is a right to privacy in the Constitution. Ultimately, having read the cases that we did, and reviewing certain amendments to the Constitution that allude to at least a vague right to privacy, I’ve come to the conclusion that I do believe that the Constitution protects my right to privacy. I concede that there is no explicit right to privacy in the Constitution including its amendments, but I believe that the amendments you listed — 1, 3, 4, 5, and 9 — together create a Constitution that cares implicitly about the privacy of its citizens. My opinion on this issue also stems from an idealistic attitude towards American government, particularly about how it ideally should treat and look after its citizens. In the Declaration of Independence citizens are guaranteed life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. In my view, I cannot have these things if my privacy, and my personal autonomy is being infringed upon, particularly by the government which exists to protect me.

  6. mbstanton says:

    It is alarming how many Americans are unaware of the lack of privacy that they expect protects them in the Constitution. Scalia says so himself in that lovely video that you found and it is quite startling. The lack of privacy written into our constitutional rights is rather alarming. You really portray the importance of paying mind to the rulings of issues that concern private matters. I liked how you deliberately address the connection between these privacy cases and the previous lessons we have studied that breaks down how justices can interpret the laws.Nice use of media resources that support your claim. Thank you for the submission.

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