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The Right to Privacy Essay examples

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When asked what amendment creates the most important right that American’s have been given by the Constitution many will look to the Bill of Rights and single out one solitary amendment. However, when looking at the bigger picture of American freedom, there is one right that is not as easy to find as say the right to free speech or the right to vote. This is because the most important right is not in expressly in the Constitution. The right to privacy is not written word for word in any one amendment. It is through the collective wording of the First, Third, Fourth, Fifth, Ninth and Fourteenth Amendments that we, as Americans, are given the most important right to ensuring the existence to freedom.

The first major Supreme Court case to address the issue of the right to privacy was Lochner v. New York which was ruled in 1905. This case was brought to the courts to rule on the constitutionality of a New York labor policy that was created to control the hours workers in private businesses were allowed to work. Lochner was arrested and tried for violating this law. Upon being appealed to the Supreme Court the initial ruling was reversed and the New York law was found to be unconstitutional due to the fact that it interfered with the Fourteenth Amendment’s due process clause. Interpreting this into the right to privacy is done by stating that governments have no right to interfere in the workings of private business. Business owners have the expectation of privacy when they enter into a contract with their employees.

The second and possibly the most important case to establish the right to privacy came to the Supreme Court in 1928. This case was Olmstead v. United States. It was not the ruling of this case that laid the foundations ...


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... participating in sexual acts involving another man, which at the time was prohibited by Georgia law. In this particular case the defense claimed the invasion of privacy should be enough to throw out the case. Originally the court of appeals sided with Hardwick on the invasion of privacy grounds. Once taken to the Supreme Court however that ruling was overturned and the case was no longer an issue of privacy but rather the acceptance of the law that banned sodomy in Georgia as essential to maintaining the standards of the nation. It was not until 2003 that Bowers was overturned. The case that did this was Lawrence v. Texas. In the opinion of the court Justice Kennedy emphasized the need for the decision in Bowers to be done away with as precedent. Kennedy stated that what two consenting adults do in their private lives is not a subject for ruling within the courts.


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