Justice Douglas and Privacy Rights

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Justice Douglas, in Griswold v. Connecticut, 381 U.S. 479 (1965), began firmly framing a constitutional right to privacy where one had previously existed only in shadow. His recipe was a various mix of Amendments within the Bill of Rights although how, exactly, the right to freedom of speech and assembly (First Amendment) interacts with the right to not be forced to quarter soldiers during peacetime (Third Amendment) never really coalesced into a solid doctrine for some.


Hence, the doctrine of privacy rights was born.
There are two fundamental aspects of Justice Douglas' statements which should be addressed here. The first is Incrementalism; the idea that privacy is not taken away in a day by one major act, but rather eroded over time. For Justice Douglas, the government may "intrude into the secret regions" of an individual's life through its actions which, almost imperceptibly, use the massive power of the federal system to weaken the standing of an individual. Secondly, Justice Douglas articulates the "Big Brother" principle; in the name of protecting us or advancing us, the government requires more access to our lives. In other words, we have a benevolent overseer who will, if allowed, take care of us; but only at the cost of our individual freedoms.
At the end of the day, Justice Douglas may be guilty of some excesses, but he has a good point. Privacy is important to individuals who live in a free society, and that right should be protected. ...
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