Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts


Political Science


The central thesis of this study is that the Supreme Court, after a half-century of incrementally developing "zones" of privacy protection through the various guaran­ tees in the Bill of Rights, has arrived at a distinct, inde­ pendent "right of privacy" with the potentiality of pro­ tecting privacy in a broad range of situations. The Court has, at least since its Griswold decision in 1965, been developing a substantive, due process right to privacy in the areas of marriage, family, conception, and abortion. Although the privacy right's perimeters have yet to be determined, its new "substantive" nature lends itself to the protection of a myriad of other liberties involving personal conduct . However, the Court has shown that the right to privacy cannot be absolute, but must be weighed against the subordinating interest of the state in invading individual and group privacy . In other words, the "right to privacy" has become a basic part of the theory that government is an institution of limited powers that must meet a heavy burden of justification when it interferes with the freedom of its citizens.