Study Guide

Right to Privacy - Is There A Right to Privacy?

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Is There A Right to Privacy?

  • The Constitution does not explicitly guarantee any "right to privacy"
  • Over time, however, courts have established some privacy rights
  • Three legal bases for privacy rights: privacy torts, explicit guarantees of aspects of privacy, and implicit guarantees of broader privacy rights

We all claim it; we all assume that it is one of the rights we possess as Americans. But the right to privacy is more difficult to define, and less explicitly protected than other rights guaranteed to us. The word "privacy" does not even appear in the Constitution, leading some legal scholars to deny that a Constitutional right to it exists. But before we look at that argument, let's examine the current legal bases of our right to privacy. These can be divided into three categories: privacy torts, the explicit guarantees of certain aspects of privacy in the Bill of Rights, and the broader privacy rights implied by the Bill of Rights and further protected by the Fourteenth Amendment.

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