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:
- I: Freedom of Speech, Press, Religion and Petition
- III : Conditions for quarters of soldiers
- IV: Right of search and seizure regulated
- V: Provisons concerning prosecution
- IX: Rule of construction of Constitution
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.