constitutional right to privacy


This episode of The West Wing first aired November 24th, 1999. Rob Lowe’s character Sam Seaborn is arguing against the confirmation of a Supreme Court nominee who has a shaky position on the right to privacy– specifically, the guy doesn’t think it’s constitutionally guaranteed. 

Yes, everyone loves talking about how this show has anticipated many of the political moments of the early aughts. That said–even if this quote only serves as a reminder that the debates du jour are not something we’re just alighting upon now, that seems like reason enough to revisit it. 

The Bill of Rights isn’t for the prom queen. The Bill of Rights isn’t for the high school quarterback. The Bill of Rights is for the least among us. The Bill of Rights is for minorities. The Bill of Rights is for those who have minority opinions. The Bill of Rights is for those who are oddballs. Those who aren’t accepted. Those who have unconventional thinking.
—  Rand Paul
This is bad...

I read an article in the Los Angeles Times this morning by Shashank Bengali about India’s biometric ID program called Aadhaar that is troubling me. (Go read it, Wednesday May 11, 2017) Then I looked on tumblr (because it is the only social media I really do) to see if there was anything here about it, so I could reblog it and add ‘agreed!’, but I didn’t find anything except something that looked like an ad for it, so I guess I’m going to share this with you.

If you don’t know about the program (which I didn’t, until this morning) it is a 12-digit number ID program that uses an individual’s finger prints and irises to connect them to their identity and all of their personal data. The Indian Supreme Court ruled that in 2015 the program should remain optional, but so many programs are connected to these 12-digit numbers now, that if you don’t have one you can be denied necessities like food rations and enrollment in school. So for all practical purposes, it is becoming mandatory. Here is what is troubling me, finger prints and irises are not something that is easily changed like a password, so in the event of a hack, what do you do? Also, perfectly preserving finger prints and irises for future identification may be out of your control due to aging, manual labor or accident, so then what do you do?  Worse yet, the Indian government has collected all the personal data for 9 out of 10 of it’s citizens so far, and allows government agencies and private businesses to access it. And the very worst thing I read this morning, is that the Attorney General of India says “Indians had no constitutional right to privacy and could not claim an “absolute right” over their bodies.” This is the world’s second largest population, over 1.3 BILLION people, and none of them have a right to privacy or absolute right over their own bodies?! I know that here in the US we have social security numbers, we are finger printed for things like driver’s licenses, and I know they scan eyes at the airport in Vancouver, Canada, but having all of your information collected in one place, attached to one ID number, owned by a government that thinks that you don’t have a right to privacy and an absolute right to your own body?! That is a different level of invasive and so bad! How long before other governments point to India and site it as a good idea, and the way of the future? Privacy and individual identity are important! Protect them! Once you have lost them, you can never really get them back.

Medicine, Law and Ethics

Roe v. Wade, was a 1973 Supreme Court decision that affirmed abortion is a privacy right protected by the Constitution. It spurred the introduction of hundreds of amendments in Congress—both to ban and protect abortions. As the Senate planned hearings, this letter suggested that legislators “receive the evidence offered by professionals trained in the fields of medicine, law, and social and biological ethics.” 

 How have you seen the results of Roe v. Wade play a role in politics today? 

Letter to Senator Birch Bayh regarding congressional hearings on constitutional amendments on abortion, January 29, 1974, Records of the U.S. Senate

Learn more about the “Amending America” exhibit      


“This is not a new debate, but the fact that we still continue to have the debate in this country baffles me. People are helped to die every single day in virtually every hospital. In the hospices, at home, all under the wink-wink of pain management. And yet every time someone suggests bringing this practice out of the closet opponents leap up screaming, “There’s potential for abuse!” “We’ll end up killing people who wanna live!” Come on! If there’s potential for abuse then by all means let’s regulate it. Have an administrative hearing, or go to court like we’re doing now. But there’s much more potential for abuse when we do it secretly!”

“It’s for the Judges to safeguard the constitution, included therein is our fundamental right to privacy. Can there be anything more private, more personal than the destiny of one’s own body? One’s life. It’s also for the Judges to step in and be humane when a gutless, politically expedient Congress refuses to do so. My God, we put dogs to sleep! To spare their needless suffering. Why don’t we extend the same compassion to human beings? This man is terminal. He will die. He fears people. All people. He can’t control his bowels. He is in utter lack of cognizance and an inability to have any meaningful exchange or even contact. Would you choose to live like that? Would anybody?”

“I’m saying Walter Schmidt’s life in its current state has no intrinsic value. He lies in his bed with no apparent capacity to discern or think. His days have devolved into a horrible cycle of soiling his bed sheets and screaming incoherently at the very touch of the nurse who cleans him. His life is a misery. I’m sorry, there is no sanctity in that. I don’t care what!… I’m sorry.

My best friend has Alzheimer’s. In the very early stages, it hasn’t… He is a grand lover of life, and will be for some time. I believe even when his mind starts to really go he’ll still fish, he’ll laugh, and love. And as it progresses he’ll still wanna live because there’ll be value for him in a friendship, in a cigar. The truth is, I don’t think he’ll ever come to me and say, “This is the day I want to die.” But the day is coming. And he won’t know it. This is perhaps the most insidious thing about Alzheimer’s. But you see, he trusts me to know when that day has arrived. He trusts me to safeguard his dignity, his legacy and self-respect. He trusts me to prevent his end from becoming a mindless piece of mush. And I will. It will be an unbearably painful… thing for me but I will do it because I love him. I will end his suffering. Because it’s the only decent, humane, and loving thing a person can do.

Ms. Schmidt is here today because she loves her father. She’s asking you to show mercy that the law refuses to.”

troythetoy-deactivated20160602  asked:

Quick question. You claim that fascists in America like Trump (and you'd be right) are evil. Yet act like the left is any better. You claim the pro-life movement is an individuals right to choose (which it is) yet want the government to walk all over gun rights. Pick one. You're either a left wing fascist or blind hypocrite. You can't be both, and I'd prefer a public answer. Which is it. Do you want the government involved in everyone's life or do you want them out. You can only choose one.

Your binary “either you want government or not” is lame. We have a balance of government. If it gets too much, we vote. If its too little, we vote. It’s called democracy. When a state does too much or too little, the Feds jump in. Government is not “all or nothing”. Choosing only one, as you state, is a false pretense. 

Government is “we the people”. We self-govern. We hold elections. Your understanding of government is underwhelming.

[You disqualify yourself from any meaningful debate when you say both sides are the same, as you write to me regarding guns and abortion]

How am I walking all over your guns rights? The government has a right to regulate guns. Are you saying any regulation is ‘walking over your rights”? A state cannot regulate its militia? Name one gun right that has been walked over that you think is too much? 

A gun is an inanimate object. It is not the same as someone’s body. The government does not have a right to regulate choice when it comes to reproduction. Abortion is legal and Constitutional. Right to privacy and Roe v Wade. My right to privacy needs to be protected by the state [laws, courts, law enforcement, etc] It does not exist in a vacuum. Therefore, even though my privacy is a existential right, it needs to be physically protected. 

The rights of the minority [gun owners and people who get abortions are the minority of Americans] need to be protected. And just like abortions are regulated, gun ownership can be regulated. We do this through government. I am not a blind hypocrite. I understand the foundation of the country on the rule of law. A hypocrite would be someone who wants small government, then wants to regulate the personal sex lives of Americans and make decisions for people who become pregnant.

Lastly, there is no such thing as left-wing fascist. It’s like saying meat-eating vegetarian.


“There has not been evidence of increased criminal sexual acts as a function of wider availability of pornography.” <Malamuth, Addison, & Koss, 2001; Kutchinsky, 1970, 1991; Diamond & Uchiyama, 1999.>

From 1995 to 2005, an era of access to pornography that includes all kinds of porn, reported sexual assault rates didn’t increase.

In one study 1,023 participants, all of them, showed no association between consuming porn and negative attitudes toward women.  

The relationship of porn to aggression is not causal. 

All that said, maybe searching for cause and effect relationships is beside the point. As in, it’s not about the reaction of people to the content they consume but rather the feelings others have about it. 

Lots of people are working really hard to censor porn because it makes them feel degraded or scared. I think I have a responsibility to listen to these voices and their concerns, even if I, or an industry didn’t cause them.

How do we maintain our freedom of speech and expression, our constitutional rights to privacy and ability to access porn AND share our planet with others who don’t like it?

Stay curious! 

(My solution is at the end of this video. A proposal that pornography becomes the platform for modeling healthy sexuality and attitudes about women; that it continues as a platform for many feminists to express the sexuality of women.)

fun fact if you post someone’s address online with the intent that they will be harassed is a criminal offence. it breaches the constitutional right to privacy as well as other various interaction declarations and conventions. he’s released personal information that he doesn’t have the right to give out. he can get fined, AVO’d (apprehended violence order), sued for defamation and damages AND he can get up to 10 years jail time. if the person whose information is under 18, 2 of Ashton’s siblings are, he can be tried under conventions that protect children as well.

Police: you have a constitutional right to assemble, as long as you properly filled out this 18 page form which will be approved in 2 weeks, that gives you permission to “protest”. During your “protest” you are required to move down a predetermined route without stopping, and the time and place and length of your constitutional assembly right will be dictated to you by heavily militarized police who will enforce a curfew and intimidate you with military surplus equipment, tear gas, and government sanctioned violence.

Police: you have the constitutional right to freedom of speech. However, news reporters, video, cell phones, twitter, internet, and speaking above a whisper is forbidden.

Police: you have the constitutional right to a trial by 12 of your peers, unless you frustrate or upset our tender feelings. then your trial will be by 12 rounds fired out of a state owned firearm. afterwords, we will release information alleging you to be a criminal; we didnt have this information at that time of your incident, but it will justify the actions of our emotionally delicate officer.

Police: as a law-abiding citizen, you have the constitutional right to bear arms; however, because we view every single person as a criminal, we know for a fact that only criminals want guns. therefore, exercising your constitutional rights makes you a criminal suspect, which you are then required to prove your innocence from with background checks and regulations other regulations which we, the police, are exempt from. because we view all citizens as criminals who have yet to act on your criminal nature, and it is imperative that we are more heavily armed than you and therefore we are allowed to purchase military surplus body armor and weapons, and to use those in acts of violence against whomever we deem, because trust us… you broke the law somehow, according to our officers discretion, in that stressful circumstance which the officer also initiated. 

Police:  as a law abiding citizen we expect you to allow your home or place of residence to be looted. if you use your firearms to protect your life or property, you will be arrested, or more likely, shot by police, because we dont want you to do the job you voted for us to do, even when we’re too busy tear gassing protesters and arresting journalists.

Police: you have the constitutional right to privacy, and we acknowledge that we need a warrant to search your property or possessions; however, we just dont care. fuck you. this is a no-knock warrant, and your under arrest, even though this is the wrong address. that white powder in the kitchen doesnt look like it belongs, and when the NSA tapped your cell phone last week they heard you talking about stuff and things.

police: we do what ever we want to do. 

fleurissante  asked:

What has Bill Blair done?

This article explains why he’s problematic:

Why Canadians should be worried if Trudeau appoints Bill Blair to cabinet

Here are a few choice quotes:

He became Chief of the Toronto force in 2005 acknowledging racism there. He vowed to increase diversity and be more responsive to racialized communities. Some steps were taken to open dialogue. But right from the beginning he institutionalized carding, a patently racist practice, and his support for it has hardly wavered. A revised carding policy was approved by the Police Services board in April 2014 but Blair disregarded the directive and did not implemented the changes.

Under Blair carding has also represented a massive information-gathering project. The data collected at each carding stop is put into a central system, and the public doesn’t know what that is used for or how long the information is kept. These carding stops and information gathering have been called a violation of “constitutional and privacy rights” by the Law Union of Ontario.


Another blemish in Blair’s career was his handling of the demonstrations at the G20 Summit in 2010. Hundreds of peaceful protesters in downtown Toronto were detained in cages or forced to sit in the pouring rain surrounded by police. Ontario Ombudsman André Marin called it “the most massive compromise of civil liberties in Canadian history.”

This was the G20 mass arrests that Bill Blair presided over:

And here are a few articles:

Canada police commander found guilty over G20 arrests

Toronto G20 cop who ordered ‘kettling’ of protesters found guilty of misconduct

G20 report slams police for ‘excessive’ force

Toronto journalist witnessed ‘police brutality’ at Toronto G20

Medics at G20 protests speak out against police brutality

A rundown of arrests of journalists and police brutality at G20 Summit

This man is now assisting the Minister of JUSTICE in Canada’s government.

  • (Pro-gun) prolifers: Quick, let's lobby politicians to pass bills against abortion, even though it's a right guaranteed through constitutional amendment and the right to privacy! Don't you know abortion kills babies?! What about their right to life??
  • Pro-gun prolifers: Keep your stinking paws off my guns, big government. I have the constitutional right to bear them, even though all the they do is kill and hurt often times completely innocent people. But I'm allowed to have them!!1 Screw other people's right to life.
Followup: Scalia and Originalism

I want to take a moment, if y’all don’t mind, and address some of the discourse going around on my post about Scalia, which apparently blew up over the weekend. (Hi, new followers!) I didn’t want to append it to the reblog, because the Scalia post is already pretty long, and I think this is deserving of its own post.

This comment from @roachpatrol is the one that’s sticking with me the most: 

You know, I think it’s genuinely important to have a judge on the Supreme Court to weigh in on what they think the founding fathers actually wanted when they drafted the constitution. If you’ve got a bunch of judges, and they’re judging things according to their interpretation of the document their legal system is founded on, having at least one of them around to say ‘well, this is what was probably meant by the guys who came up with the damn thing’ seems pretty important. 

Honestly, I agree - at least, to a point. As much distaste as I had personally for Scalia (for which I make no apologies; as a member of a population which Scalia often ruled against, I have some real skin in the game here), I’m also uncomfortable with the notion that the intent of the people who wrote the Constitution should be discarded wholesale. Their writings on government, justice, and federalism provide an incredibly rich soil in which the roots of American democracy took hold.

What makes me equally uncomfortable, though, is the idea that we can determine the absolute and infallible intent of a group of men who died 200 years ago. I’m not saying that we shouldn’t try - someone has to, I guess - but to give that much power to one interpretation of the intent of a group of long-dead political elites doesn’t sit right with me.

I might even go so far as to argue that the Constitution itself provides a cautionary tale against plain-text readings, in the form of the 9th Amendment:

The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

In other words, just because the Constitution doesn’t enumerate a specific right to privacy, or a right to have an abortion, or a right to send your kids to private school, doesn’t mean that such rights don’t exist. Put another way, this sounds to me like the founders saying “Hey! in 200 years, someone might argue that the only rights we want people to have are the ones we give them here in the Constitution! Wouldn’t that be nuts? We had better fix that!I don’t think that out-and-out discredits an originalist interpretation of the Constitution, but I do think that it lends credence to the notion that the founders recognized that the Constitution would have to change with the changing values of the time. That’s also why we’re allowed to amend it. I mean, for God’s sake, when the Constitution was written, a black person was valued at three-fifths of a white person. An originalist interpretation of that text would, I think we can agree, run counter to our values today.

Also, listen, the founders were operating in a time when they didn’t have streetlamps, much less the Internet. The Constitution was written when you were likely to have soldiers billeted in your house. It’s is a fantastic framework for jurisprudence, but it’s also, in some ways, woefully inadequate to deal with the implications of our brave new world. 

But that’s just my opinion of it. I encourage you all to seek out as many as possible.

57% of people under 30 surveyed think #Roe was about the death penalty, desegregation, the environment, or couldn’t say

68 percent of respondents who identified as Republicans knew what Roe was about, versus 57 percent of Democrats.

For the 74 percent who wanted to see Roe overturned, abortion was a “crucial issue” or “one of many crucial issues,” but among those who support a woman’s right to choose, that number was 31 percent.

62 percent of Americans ages 18-29, people who for the most part don’t yet have children, said the right to abortion is “not that important” (compared to 53 percent of adults overall).

This week marks the 43rd year since the passage of Roe v Wade which, in legalizing abortion, extended several previously withheld constitutional rights, having to do with privacy, autonomy and due process, to women. It took time and involved endless constitutional interpretations. In theory, our bodies, we get to decide what happens in and to them. In practice, not so much. The right to abortion, like other “women’s issues,” remains one that is constantly under attack and considered negotiable.

Denying women safe and legal access to abortion is a human rights violation, even in the United States which likes to pretend that human rights violations only happen in other countries. The legal right to abortion, however, is treated like some kind of perk, something to be negotiated, a matter of opinion, subject to the eternal intervention of men. We thoughtlessly elect careless and ignorant people, many of whom demonstrate that they know virtually nothing about science, physiology, economics or their relationship to women’s rights and lives. Most of them are people for whom control of reproduction can be reduced to a 12,000-year old technology, $.50 micro-thin shealth.

How, it seems reasonable as many men suggest, could the problem of reproduction be so critical to women’s entire lives? How could anyone think that things as banal as birth control and safe abortion be considered “Very Important Transformative Technologies,” globally?

Our laws and “morality” continue to reflect, or seek to reproduce, a reality in which reproduction takes place and is managed outside of a body, the way reproduction is experienced by men. For women, the experience cannot be separated, yet, from our bodies. That fetuses are not part of men’s bodies doesn’t make them less part of women’s. That’s the bitterest pill, the one no one wants to swallow because of all its implications.

Boys and men never have to talk about their “reproductive rights” because the norm, plain old “rights,” is male. “Rights” are only qualified by “reproductive” when we’re talking about women – because what we have is thought of as “different,” and requires “fixing,” as opposed to normative to what it means to be human. This is evident, materially, for example, in the way that abortion and health as they pertains to women’s reproductive organs are isolated in “clinics” outside of “regular” care and in specialized practices that are considered “extra” and somehow mysterious.

What every boy and man should know is that the rights of the women they know, who look like they are functioning as equals in schools and work, have never been as inalienable and fundamental as their own. A woman’s right to abortion, to decide if and when and how, to reproduce is a fundamental human right specific to being a human female.… #Roe43