In our continuation of celebrating our freedoms during the month of Independence, today we take a look at the Right to Privacy.
The Right to Privacy has been up for great debate as it is not actually found in the text of the Constitution or the Bill of Rights. This “implied” right is based on several Supreme Court rulings that relied on multiple Amendments. Overall, the Right to Privacy applies to many aspects of our citizens’ lives, from whom we marry or where we live, to determining our own medical treatment.
Many Constitutional scholars feel that individuals have this Right to Privacy “because the government isn’t specifically given the power to violate your privacy.” This, combined with the interpretation of certain Amendments, has created this “implied” right. The Amendments include:
- 4th Amendment:
The 4th Amendment reads, “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”
This Amendment establishes that police and government agencies search or take any of our belongings without reason, creating the idea that our belongings are “private.”
- 9th Amendment:
The text of the 9th Amendment reads, “The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.”
- 10th Amendment:
The 10th Amendment reads, “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”
The combination of both the 9th and 10th Amendment create a precedent where the Government has no power unless it is expressly given in the Constitution and simply put, just because a right is not mentioned in the Constitution, does not mean it doesn’t exist, and it is then left up to the States and the People.
Here are several Supreme Court rulings that have established a Right to Privacy:
- Loving v Virginia
- Griswold v Connecticut
- Olmstead v US: The first mention of a right to privacy in 1928, Justice Brandeis “argued that the Framers had created a framework for the greatest right of all: ‘the right to be left alone.’”
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