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Right to Privacy
Right to Privacy

Right to Privacy Discussion & Essay Questions

Available to teachers only as part of the Teaching the Right to Privacy Teacher Pass


Teaching the Right to Privacy Teacher Pass includes:

  • Assignments & Activities
  • Reading Quizzes
  • Current Events & Pop Culture articles
  • Discussion & Essay Questions
  • Challenges & Opportunities
  • Related Readings in Literature & History

Sample of Discussion and Essay Questions

  1. Is There a Right to Privacy?
  2. Privacy Torts
    • How do people most commonly seek redress when they believe that their privacy has been violated?
      • What is a tort?
      • Are most torts heard in criminal or civil trials?
        • What is the difference?
      • Why do you suppose people can usually only seek civil remedies for violations of their privacy?
  3. Expressed Privacy Rights in the Constitution
    • Does the Fourth Amendment hamstring the police?
      • Do the exceptions allowing for warrantless searches provide police the flexibility they need to do their job?
      • Or are these exceptions too generous?
    • According to the Katz ruling, privacy rights must be respected wherever and whenever people have a reasonable expectation of privacy. A warrant must be obtained in order to violate this privacy.
      • Does this seem reasonable, or excessive?
      • What level of privacy should a person be able to expect in a public place?
        • Should the police have to obtain a warrant to tap a public phone?
        • Can a whispered conversation in a restaurant booth be taped without a warrant?
  4. Implied Privacy Rights in the Constitution
  5. Strict Constructionism and Privacy
    • What exactly are “penumbras?” What was Justice Douglas saying about the Bill of Rights?
      • Is this a logical or problematic concept?
    • What “zone of privacy” or “penumbras” do you see emanating from the Fourth Amendment?
      • "The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated."
    • Is there a “zone of privacy” or “penumbras” emanating from the First Amendment?
      • "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof."
    • Answer these questions from a strict constructionist point of view.
    • Now answer them using the broadest possible construction of these constitutional amendments.