constitutional right to privacy

Topics: United States Constitution, Supreme Court of the United States, Law Pages: 2 (665 words) Published: October 16, 2013
Constitutional Right To Privacy

In the following essay I will examine our Constitutional right to privacy. Though the right to privacy is not mentioned in the Constitution, we have good reason for thinking that it is a fundamental human right. To defend my position, I will examine the term “privacy” in a philosophical and legal context, secondly I will explain why Supreme Court rulings over the years have established that privacy is a basic human right, and finally I will explain reasonable limits on this right.

In the dictionary, the term “privacy” is defined as “the state or condition of being free from being observed or disturbed by other people”. However, in a legal context the definition continues to be an object of debate. A universal definition is difficult to come by when taking into account the dynamics of public safety, national security, and economic well being of the country. In order to practically adhere to these dynamics, it seems there must be certain laws in which privacy breaches must be permitted. This is an important reason why the law does not adequately address the issue of privacy. This raises the question, when can the government over step our fundamental right to privacy, if at all?

While the word “privacy” is not mentioned in the Constitution, Supreme Court rulings have established that the concept is present in several of the amendments. It is clear in the Fourth Amendment that our right to privacy is protected, because it stops the police and other government agents from searching us, or our property without "probable cause". The well-known Roe v. Wade case generally identifies the Ninth and Fourteenth as a privacy right in which a woman has the right to terminate her own pregnancy. In the Griswold v. Connecticut case the Supreme Court ruled that a state's ban on the use of contraceptives violated the right to marital privacy. The Lawrence v. Texas case reversed charges...
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