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Teaching Guide

Teaching the Right to Privacy

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Our [redacted] is the [redacted] to [redacted] [redacted], but our teaching guide exposes everything on the right to privacy.

In this guide you will find

  • activities exploring third- and fourth-amendment rights.
  • articles about privacy in the information age.
  • essay questions on privacy torts, drug-testing rights, and abortion.

This guide is the [redacted] you need to [redacted] the Right to [redacted].

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  • 4-10 Common Core-aligned activities (including quotation, image, and document analysis) to complete in class with your students, with detailed instructions for you and your students. 
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Instructions for You

The right to privacy is among the most contested of America’s constitutional rights. While all agree that the Constitution protects certain aspects of privacy, judges and legal scholars disagree vehemently over the scope of privacy rights. In this exercise your students will join this debate by adopting a position suggested by one of the following quotations.


"Specific guarantees in the Bill of Rights have penumbras, formed by emanations from those guarantees that help give them life and substance. Various guarantees create zones of privacy."
-- Justice William Douglas in Griswold v. Connecticut, 1965

"[The Fourth Amendment's framers] had a specific principle of privacy at work in the Fourth Amendment. It was privacy in your home and in your office from search by the government. That is not just a broad ranging right of privacy you can apply anywhere. Now, [Justice William] Douglas made up a right of privacy that's attached to nothing."
--Federal Appellate Judge and legal scholar Robert Bork, 2003

(Lesson aligned with CA 12th grade American government standards 12.2.1)

Instructions for Your Students

Everyone agrees that the Constitution protects certain aspects of privacy. The police may not burst into your home without a warrant; your private papers and records may not be seized unless the court authorizes such an intrusion into your privacy after finding just cause.

But how far does this right to privacy extend? Do the expressed protections of the Third and Fourth Amendments guarantee only what they precisely say they protect—or do they suggest or hint at broader rights of privacy that the government must respect?

Look at these quotes. With which do you agree? Be prepared to defend your choice.

"Specific guarantees in the Bill of Rights have penumbras, formed by emanations from those guarantees that help give them life and substance. Various guarantees create zones of privacy.
-- Justice William Douglas in Griswold v. Connecticut, 1965

"[The Fourth Amendment's framers] had a specific principle of privacy at work in the Fourth Amendment. It was privacy in your home and in your office from search by the government. That is not just a broad ranging right of privacy you can apply anywhere. Now, [Justice William] Douglas made up a right of privacy that's attached to nothing."
--Federal Appellate Judge and legal scholar Robert Bork, 2003

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