The Right to Privacy Essay

The Right To Privacy Term paper

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In the United States Constitution and its subsequent amendments, there is in no place a reference to the so called “Right to Privacy.” But in several Supreme Court Cases, the judges have ruled in favor of a certain decision by stating that people of the United States have a “Right to Privacy.” How do these judges make the conclusion that there is a right to privacy guaranteed in the constitution, when it is not specifically written? The answer is, that they imply the power based on several of the already predefined amendments. In the Supreme Court Case, Gideons vs. Connecticut (1965), the Court ruled that the Connecticut law stating that no contraceptive may be used. The plaintiff argued that they should not be penalized for something they do in there own home. When the case reached the Supreme Court, the Court ruled in favor of the plaintiff, stating that there was a right to privacy in a man’s home. In Mapp vs. Ohio, Police received an anonymous tip that there was a bomber inside the residence of a Mrs. Mapp. They came to her house, and she refused them in without a search warrant. The police came back later, handcuffed Mapp, and found several items of obscene material throughout her house. The supreme court ruled in favor the Mapp, stating the right to privacy in ones home, and the guarantees that the fourth and fourteenth amendments have. What gives the court the right to base a decision on the right to privacy? The first amendment to the constitution states that people have the rights of speech, religion, press, petition, and “assembly.” More specifically, “freedom to associate.” The court ruled that “the disclosure of membership lists of a constitutionally valid association, was invalid.” It also ruled that “we have protection in the associations that are not political in the customary sense, but pertain to the social, legal, and economic benefit of the members,” in NAACP vs. Button. Another reason why the right to privacy is implied is the fourth and fifth amendments. In Boyd vs. US, they are used as protection against invasions “of the sanctity of a man’s home and the privacies of life.” In Mapp vs. Ohio, the fourth amendment was referred to as “a right to privacy, no less important than any other right carefully and particularly reserved to the people.” It is also referred to in Griswold vs. Connecticut case as “the right to be left alone.” In NAACP vs. Alabama, the fourth and first amendments were used in conjunction to say “we have the right to associate and to have privacy in one’s associations.” Throughout the brief history of the Supreme Court, hundreds of cases have been held. Several of those cases have had the decision based on the “right to privacy.” The problem is, that no where in any version or in any language does the United States Constitution specifically say we have a right to privacy. Even one of the most controversial cases in history, Roe vs. Wade, had a decision that was based at least partially on the “right to privacy.” Whether it is written or implied by the courts, one thing is for sure, due to the ninth and fourteenth amendments, there is no way, that a state or national law will ever take away our so called “Right to Privacy.” A Right To Privacy: Sure why not!

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