The Constitutional Right to Privacy

Is there a Constitutional right to privacy?  Some sources say that it is implicit in the Constitution, while others say that the right to privacy is a myth.

Michael W. Flynn
4-minute read

This challenge to the implied privacy right has also been at issue in cases involving consensual noncommercial sex, such as Lawrence v. Texas. In that case, the court struck down a Texas statute that prohibited sodomy between men, holding that the right to privacy extends to acts of consensual sex between two individuals, and the government cannot intrude into those acts. Again, the right to privacy was invoked, and reaffirmed in that case.

So, to answer Dewayne’s question, it depends on whom you ask about this right to privacy. Under current Supreme Court jurisprudence, the right exists, and has been applied to exclude the government from interfering in several aspects of people’s private lives. The right to privacy is no more a “myth” than any other right under the Constitution.

Some justices on the court, including Justices Scalia and Thomas, have expressly stated in dissent that the right to privacy does not exist in the Constitution, and that Griswold was incorrectly decided. These justices would argue that the right is a myth, and was created by liberal members of the court.

Of course, the Supreme Court could one day overrule Griswold and the underlying right to privacy. The court might limit that right. The court might expand that right. We have no choice but to wait and see. For now, the right to privacy exists; it is not a myth. 

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