04 January 2012

Right To Privacy

This is something I’ve been thinking about recently, given Santorum’s criticism of Griswold v.Conneticut.  The ruling in that case was that there is a general right to privacy implied in the constitution that the government does not have permission to infringe upon.  Santorum believes that the right to privacy, though in the constitution, is not as extensive as the Griswold ruling asserts.  There are, by my reckoning, two fallacious assumptions in this discussion.

The first is that constitutional restraints are generally binding on state governments.  They are not, at least per an honest understanding of the ninth and tenth amendments.  The implication of these two amendments is that the states have more latitude than the federal government in regulating the respective citizens of their states.

The second is that of the concept of the right to privacy.  On a federal level, the proper approach is not to ask whether citizens have a right to privacy, but to ask whether the federal government has the authority to gather and record information about its citizens, and to what extent that authority extends.  It must first be remembered that that constitution doesn’t exist to affirm individual rights, it exists to limit federal power.  As such, it should be clear that the federal government has little authority for its current data-gathering, the protests of national security apologists notwithstanding.

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