The Constitutional Right to Privacy and Political Philosophy

Justice Hugo black wrote that privacy is a broad abstract and ambiguous concept as you stated in the case of Griswold against Connecticut which occurred in 1965. Any commentary on the approach taken by the Supreme Court in regard to the notion of privacy must begin by acknowledging the truth of blacks in sight. There is no simple grouping of cases allows one to discern a particular document privacy has been adopted by the judges or the can easily be conveyed. Instead, one discovers that privacy and associated words such as private refer to a variety of notions only loosely linked together to prove to be an enduring source of controversy in regard to the degree of constitutional protection afforded to them.

Perhaps easiest way to demonstrate the qualities of the notion of privacy is a reference to some of the standard ways that it is referred to such as private and privacy in ordinary language. Contrast for example, the quite different implications of Turner’s private property and invasion of privacy. To be sure, they are related to one another but they nonetheless point in substantially different directions and have elicited quite different reactions from the courts.   Though the notion of private property clearly goes back to ancient times, it is especially resonant in the liberal tradition out of which so much American political thought is developed.  in the first instance the word private is usually used as an adjective and property is not always preceded by the adjective. What is public use, almost by definition, within the realm of government regulation and one of the purposes of governments is to regulate the conditions of public life. Further, one of the central roles of the Constitution is to place limits on what the state can do in the name of the public. Thus, the first amendment prevents state from offering public property only to political groups whose views it supports even though the owner of private auditorium is free to use vertical criteria when renting the hall.

The point of turning something private is to suggest that it is in important ways, protected against governmental influence. The strongest defence of government, especially in the more libertarian versions of political philosophy is to establish certain mechanisms including police forces in courts for the enforcement of contracts that will serve to safeguard the basic natural rights of life liberty and property. The basic value underlying the protection of such rights according to most contemporary political theorists, especially those who came from one or another version of that espoused by manual count is autonomy, that is, an individual’s ability to choose themselves how to live their lives.

According to those who emphasise individual autonomy, the state should, as much as possible serve only to facilitate the choices made by private citizens of the so long as those choices do not conflict with the rights of individuals. Indeed, many contemporary theorists who reject any notion of a natural right to private property nonetheless support recognition of a legal right to private property on the grounds argued by Aristotle nearly 2500 years ago on the basis of possession being necessary in order to allow the practical realisation of freedom and autonomous choice. Egalitarian smite object of a particular distribution of property within which to many poor people are without property and thus without effective means to realise their autonomy but this distribution of critique is not in the least and tailor rejection of the basic importance of the role of private rights protected against that negation.


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