In these activities students will explore the meaning of privacy and the development ofthe constitutional right of privacy over time.
Abortion has roiled the waters of modern American life as few other issues have. Beneath this debate are simmering differences over basic values: the rights of the unborn and the related matter of when life begins, the rights of women to control their reproductive functions and preserve their health, the expectation that women’s most important role is to bear children, and the role of the state in selecting among these values.
Does the U.S. Constitution protect an individual’s right to privacy? Many Americans think it does. Others say it does not. The word “privacy” cannot be found in the U.S. Constitution. Yet the U.S. Supreme Court, by a vote of 7 to 2, based its decision in Griswold v. Connecticut (1965) on the presumption of a constitutionally protected right to privacy. The Court’s “discovery” of a right to privacy in the U.S. Constitution was lauded by many Americans and derided by many others, including two justices of the Supreme Court, who wrote sharp dissenting opinions against the Court’s majority in the Griswold case.
Full lesson plan for Privacy and the Fourth Amendment
The Right to Privacy by Samuel D. Warren and Louis D. Brandeis
The National Security Agency has obtained direct access to the systems of Google, Facebook, Apple and other US internet giants, according to a top secret document obtained by the Guardian.
Information about three types of recommended websites are provided here. Sister websites are those connected to Annenberg Classroom. Best Civics Websites are organizations that have excellent content for civics education. Most of the resources are free. Critical Thinking websites provide useful information for students who are researching topics such as legal rights, immigration, and the environment. The summaries include information about the websites’ content, their founders, funding and political leanings.
In Bowers v. Hardwick (1986), the Supreme Court ruled that the Constitution does not protect the right of gay adults to engage in private, consensual sodomy. The case began in August 1982, when Atlanta police arrived at the residence of Michael Hardwick to arrest him for failing to appear in court on charges of public drinking.
Cruzan v. Director, Missouri Department of Health, 497 U.S. 261 (1990), was a landmark decision of the US Supreme Court involving a young adult incompetent. The first "right to die" case ever heard by the Court, Cruzan was argued on December 6, 1989 and decided on June 25, 1990.
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Griswold v. Connecticut, 381 U.S. 479 (1965), was a landmark decision of the US Supreme Court in which the Court ruled that the Constitution of the United States protects the liberty of married couples to buy and use contraceptives without government restriction.
Katz v. United States, 389 U.S. 347 (1967), was a landmark decision of the U.S. Supreme Court in which the Court redefined what constitutes "searches" and "seizures" with regard to the protections of the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
Kyllo v. United States, 533 U.S. 27 (2001), held in a 5–4 decision that the use of a thermal imaging, or FLIR, device from a public vantage point to monitor the radiation of heat from a person's home was a "search" within the meaning of the Fourth Amendment, and thus required a warrant.
Lawrence et al. v. Texas, 539 U.S. 558 (2003), was a landmark decision of the U.S. Supreme Court in which the Court ruled that U.S. laws prohibiting private homosexual activity between consenting adults are unconstitutional. The Court reaffirmed the concept of a "right to privacy" that earlier cases, such as Roe v. Wade, had found the U.S. Constitution provides, even though it is not explicitly enumerated. The Court based its ruling on the notions of personal autonomy to define one's own relationships and of American traditions of non-interference with private sexual decisions between consenting adults.
Loving v. Virginia, 388 U.S. 1 (1967), was a landmark civil rights decision of the U.S. Supreme Court in which the Court ruled that laws banning interracial marriage violate the Equal Protection and Due Process Clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
Meyer v. Nebraska, 262 U.S. 390 (1923), was a U.S. Supreme Court case that held that a 1919 Nebraska law restricting foreign-language education violated the Due Process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.
Moore v. City of East Cleveland, 431 U.S. 494 (1977), was a United States Supreme Court case in which the Court ruled that an East Cleveland, Ohio zoning ordinance that prohibited a grandmother from living with her grandchild was unconstitutional.
Olmstead v. United States, 277 U.S. 438 (1928), was a decision of the Supreme Court of the United States, in which the Court reviewed whether the use of wiretapped private telephone conversations, obtained by federal agents without judicial approval and subsequently used as evidence, constituted a violation of the defendant’s rights provided by the Fourth and Fifth Amendments. In a 5–4 decision, the Court held that neither the Fourth Amendment nor the Fifth Amendment rights of the defendant were violated. This decision was later overturned by Katz v. United States in 1967.
This book takes an in-depth look at the Constitution, annotated with detailed explanations of its terms and contents. Included are texts of primary source materials, sidebar material on each article and amendment, profiles of Supreme Court cases, and timelines.
This book uses historical case studies to explore the rights in the Constitution. Supreme Court cases are used to demonstrate how a right received its modern interpretation, how the right applies today, and how courts and other interpreters seek to balance this right with important societal concerns such as public safety.
Planned Parenthood v. Casey, 505 U.S. 833 (1992), was a landmark United States Supreme Court case regarding abortion. In a plurality opinion, the Court upheld the constitutional right to have an abortion that was established in Roe v. Wade (1973), but altered the standard for analyzing restrictions on that right, crafting the "undue burden" standard for abortion restrictions.
In the United States, the Supreme Court first recognized the right to privacy in Griswold v. Connecticut (1965). Before Griswold, however, Louis Brandeis (prior to becoming a Supreme Court Justice) co-authored a Harvard Law Review article called "The Right to Privacy," in which he advocated for the "right to be let alone."
The U.S Constitution safeguards the rights of Americans to privacy and personal autonomy. Although the Constitution does not explicitly provide for such rights, the U.S. Supreme Court has interpreted the Constitution protect these rights, specifically in the areas of marriage, procreation, abortion, private consensual homosexual activity, and medical treatment.
Roe v. Wade, 410 U.S. 113 (1973), was a landmark decision of the U.S. Supreme Court in which the Court ruled that the Constitution of the United States protects a pregnant woman's liberty to choose to have an abortion without excessive government restriction. It struck down many U.S. state and federal abortion laws, and prompted an ongoing national debate in the United States about whether and to what extent abortion should be legal, who should decide the legality of abortion, what methods the Supreme Court should use in constitutional adjudication, and what the role of religious and moral views in the political sphere should be. Roe v. Wade reshaped American politics, dividing much of the United States into abortion rights and anti-abortion movements, while activating grassroots movements on both sides.
Silverman v. United States, 365 U.S. 505 (1961), is a United States Supreme Court case in which the Court unanimously held that a federal officer may not, without warrant, physically place themselves into the space of a person's office or home to secretly observe or listen and relate at the man's subsequent criminal trial what was seen or heard.
Stanley v. Georgia, 394 U.S. 557 (1969), was a United States Supreme Court decision that helped to establish an implied "right to privacy" in U.S. law, in the form of mere possession of obscene materials. The Georgia home of Robert Eli Stanley, a suspected and previously convicted bookmaker, was searched by police with a federal warrant to seize betting paraphernalia.
The following lesson plans have been developed by University of Washington School of Law Students for the Street Law Course and are available for use at no charge.
This book analyzes 30 Supreme Court cases chosen by a group of Supreme Court justices and leading civics educators as the most important for American citizens to understand. An additional 100 significant cases included in state history and civics standards are summarized. By Kermit L. Hall and John J. Patrick.
The Issue: Does the Constitution protect the right of privacy? If so, what aspects of privacy receive protection?
United States v. Jones, 565 U.S. 400 (2012), was a landmark United States Supreme Court case which held that installing a Global Positioning System (GPS) tracking device on a vehicle and using the device to monitor the vehicle's movements constitutes a search under the Fourth Amendment. In 2004 defendant Jones was suspected of drug trafficking.
United States v. Karo, 468 U.S. 705 (1984), was a United States Supreme Court decision related to the Fourth Amendment protection from unreasonable search and seizure. It held that use of an electronic beeper device to monitor a can of ether without a warrant constituted an unlawful search.
United States v. Knotts, 460 U.S. 276, was a United States Supreme Court case regarding the use of an electronic surveillance device. The defendants argued that the use of this device was a Fourth Amendment violation.
Washington v. Glucksberg, 521 U.S. 702 (1997), was a landmark case in which the Supreme Court of the United States unanimously held that a right to assisted suicide in the United States was not protected by the Due Process Clause.
The Constitution, through the Fourth Amendment, protects people from unreasonable searches and seizures by the government. The Fourth Amendment, however, is not a guarantee against all searches and seizures, but only those that are deemed unreasonable under the law.
Efrat Cohen explains how social media and digital trails have changed the concept of privacy.
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