In 1967, President Johnson’s Crime Commission investigated electronic surveillance and concluded that the state of the law was “intolerable.”
Legal historian Morton Horwitz wrote, “The distinction between public and private realms arose out of a double movement in modern political and legal thought.” He concluded that the distinction was breaking down as “private institutions were acquiring coercive power that had formerly been reserved to governments.”
“The straights to which helpless woman has been subjected by the absence of pockets in her gowns have wrung from her many complaints that have availed her nothing.”
“American District Telegraph Company was originally conceptualized as a business service, but it quickly began to sell itself as a service for the home as well.”
In 1689, John Locke wrote that “the end of law is not to abolish or restrain, but to preserve and enlarge freedom.”
In the 1923 case of Meyer v. Nebraska, which grew out of the anti-German sentiment of World War I, the Supreme Court “upheld the right of parents to direct the upbringing and education of their children by striking down … a state statute prohibiting the teaching of any modern language other than English in any public or private grammar school.” How does this relate to Griswold v. Connecticut, which created a “right to privacy” (at least in terms of marital relations)?
Griswold v. Connecticut is one of the foundational cases of a constitutional “right to privacy” in the United States – though, as many have pointed out, the word “privacy” does not appear in the text of the Constitution itself. The precedent in the majority opinion by Justice Douglas is nonetheless strong and deeply rooted in tradition.
The Supreme Court and James Q. Whitman’s “The Two Western Cultures of Privacy: Dignity Versus Liberty”
James Q. Whitmore reveals an interesting contrast: whereas American law and rhetoric is strongest when privacy is approached as a protection against state interference, privacy protections in Germany and France are at their peak when the dignity of the individual is at stake. Justice Kennedy, interestingly, emphasizes this more European approach in a number of his Supreme Court decisions.
Was President Trump right when he tweeted that “all agree the U. S. President has the complete power to pardon”? It is true that the power of the President of the United States to issue pardons is indeed one of the president’s most powerful Article II powers – but, it is also, despite the implication of President Trump’s tweet, limited.
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