Major Human Rights Issue

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POL 120 American Government – Summer 2019- Paper Prompt 1

1. Choose a major rights issue and discuss why it is important to be protected (1-2 paragraphs)

2. Discuss which Constitutional Amendment(s) this right is protected by (if it isn’t explicitly protected, why should it be)? (1/2pg – 1pg)

3. Does the United States’ Government adequately protect the citizens with this right (both in practice/laws, and reality/implementation)? Provide evidence of what has been, what is being done, or what should be done in the House/Senate, President/Bureaucracy and course. Defend your argument with evidence done through research. USE SUPREME COURT CASES, I like to see at least 3 major court cases (maybe more). What does the other side say about this right, how do they disagree with you? (4-5pgs)

4. Finally, do you believe that this right could be better protected in the “State of Nature” (Hobbes) or in our current version of American Government (Locke and Rousseau). Discuss all three. (1page)

You will use outside sources depending on your topic, so to properly cite them in MLA style. That means an inline citation (last name of the author, pg# if applicable, date), and a works cited page (last/first name of author, date, name of article, publication, URL). ALL YOUR WORK SHOULD BE CITED, if you fail to cite something, I will consider that plagiarism. You can use the sources from Wikipedia, but do not cite Wikipedia itself (that also is plagiarism). You should also cite only legitimate sources, do not use “Alternative Facts” from non-reputable sources.

When grading your papers, this is what I’m looking for:
-Have you succinctly and clearly stated the main argument in the first paragraph? (Summary of what right you choose, which amendment do you think it is protected under, is the government protecting it adequately or not, and is the right protected better in a state of nature or not)
-Have you proven why it is important to protect this right? (section 1)
-Have you made a compelling argument for which amendment(s) the right should be associated with? (section 2).
-Have you accurately described how the United States has handled the right in practice (Courts cases in our book, any legislation through Congress, Presidential actions, etc.) and in implementation (What happens in the states, local law enforcements, etc)? (section 3)
-Have you touched upon the counter argument (what others who disagree with you might feel about the right?)? (section 3)
-Demonstrate evidence of effective proofreading/editing?
-Have you effectively used relevant sources (our book/lectures, class materials, journals, reputable news sources) and is it free from plagiarism? Have you included accurate bibliography/citation?


Overall I thought you took this is some interesting directions, your theory and legal aspects were sound, though you took a lot of cases I would not have normally expected to see (though you hit a few good ones) and you left out the most important topic of the right to privacy, the “Patriot Act.” Here are some of the cases I really wanted to see:

– 1st/3rd/4th/6th/9th/14th Amendments
– Meyer v Nebraska
– Roe v Wade
– You can also include Planned Parenthood v. Casey
– Stanley v Georgia
– Lawrence v Texas
– Mapp v ohio
– Griswold v Connecticut
– Gideon v. Wainwright
– Weeks v. United States
– Terry v. Ohio
-Patriot Act: Doe v. Gonzales & ACLU v Clapper

Other than that, this was a good paper A 93


*Major Human Rights Issue*
Privacy is an important right, fundamental to the protection, and autonomy of human dignity and serves as the basis on which several human rights rely. Privacy allows people to generate barriers and control boundaries to protect themselves from interference in their lives, which are unwarranted (Dafinova et al.). Privacy also allows people to negotiate who they are and how they prefer to associate with their world. It assists people in building boundaries to manage people with access to their lives, bodies, things, and places, including those who access people’s information and communication (Carson). Protection of privacy enables people to assert their rights in the presence of great imbalances of power. Consequently, privacy is an integral way through which people seek self and societal protection against the unjustified and arbitrary use of power.

Privacy is important to human beings, and people’s everyday decisions revolve around privacy. Privacy enables people to be themselves by thinking freely without judgment and discrimination. It equips people with control over what others know about us, thus enhancing our confidence in what we do (Carson). The deliberation concerning the right to privacy in modern society is a subject concerning modern freedoms as people determine how to define and defend the boundaries around other people. The ability of a person to exercise control over their predicaments, people tend to decide on the policies defining the conduct of commerce, the modern life’s ethics, and the oversight people place upon the authority of the state.

Technological discoveries have continued to endanger the right to privacy by increasing the need to protect privacy. Technology continues to expose citizens to activities, which violate the right to privacy by enabling unauthorized access to people’s private lives (Carson). Through technology, people can now identify targets individuals from a database and make choices about individuals according to mass data sets (Carson). Technology enables organizations such as the government to monitor people’s commercial transactions, conversations, travel history, among other activities. These activities can result in negative effects on people and society. The level of privacy evident in each society determines people’s perception of the association between society, individuals, markets, and the state. Therefore, the right to privacy protects citizens against the autonomy of the state and its agencies.

*The Right to Privacy in the USA’s Constitution*
The right to privacy is a significant component of constitutional law. However, the USA Constitution does not contain a direct expression of the right to privacy. There is the incorporation of James Madison’s views and other lawmakers concerned with the protection of specific elements of privacy, including the privacy of beliefs evident in the First Amendment of the Bill of Rights (Goldenberg). There is also the privacy of people’s homes against state move to use such homes to accommodate soldiers “the 3rd Amendment” (Goldenberg). People’s privacy and their properties against all searches that are unwarranted and unreasonable “4th Amendment” (Goldenberg). Protection against self-incrimination that gives protection over personal data “5th Amendment” (Goldenberg). Further, the 9th Amendment provides that “enumeration of certain rights in the Bill of Rights shall not be construed to deny or disparage other rights retained by the people” (Goldenberg). The 9th Amendment allows people, including the justice system, to broadly read the Bill of Rights, and to protect the right to privacy in areas unspecified, or unprovided for in the Constitutional Amendments.

There is a controversial debate concerning the protection of privacy by the Constitution in manners not expressly included in the Bill of Rights. Several originalists such as the great “Judge Robert Bork” in Supreme Court confirmation cases, argued that there is no existence of general privacy rights (Chandpuri). However, the Supreme Court has continuously made decisions based on a broad interpretation of liberty as provided in the 4th Amendment to avail a broader right to privacy, which incorporates aspects of procreation, child-rearing, marriages, and medical treatment agreements. Therefore, the right to privacy is an essential human right that should have explicit protection in the USA Constitution.

*Protection of Citizens with the Right to Privacy*
The right to privacy was not a Constitutional law in the USA until 1961, and it did not form the grounds of any Supreme Court decision until 1965 (Chandpuri). Still, it is considered the earliest constitutional right in the country. The “right to be left alone” as coined by “Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis” (Chandpuri), marks the basis of the conscience freedom enshrined in the 1st Amendment. Further, the right to personal security as enshrined in the 4th Amendment and right to deny self-incrimination is enshrined in the 5th Amendment. Still, the term “privacy” does not appear anywhere in the USA Constitution. In contemporary society, the right to privacy is a major course of action in several civil lawsuits (Chandpuri). Consequently, contemporary tort law incorporates four non-specific groups of violation to privacy including,
• Publication of information (facts), which places an individual in a false light
• Unauthorized access to a person’s private space or solitude through electronic or physical means.
• Unauthorized disclosure of private facts publicly
• Unauthorized application of a person’s image or name for self-gain

There are several laws evident in the quest for the protection of the American’s right to privacy.

*The Bill of Rights, 1789*
As proposed by James Madison, the Bill of Rights includes the 4th Amendment, explaining the unspecified right of individuals to persons’ privacy, and security of papers, and homes. It protects people against unwarranted seizures and searches (Klein). The Bill of Rights stresses the 9th Amendment, which allows for the protection of the right to privacy in broader aspects. However, this Amendment does not apply categorically to refer to a right to privacy.

*Amendments in Post-Civil War*
There was the ratification of 3 Amendments to the USA Bill of Rights in the post-civil war to ensure the protection of the rights of black Americans freed during the war. These Amendments were the 13th Amendment in 1865 that abolished slavery, and the slave trade, the 15th Amendment in 1870, which allowed black men to vote, and Section 1 of the 14th Amendment in 1868, which enlarged protection of civil rights (Klein). The Amendment protected American citizens against any law that violates immunities, or privileges availed by the United States. It also restricted any state from depriving any individual of liberty, life, or property without following the due process of law.

*Poe V. Ullman Case*
The “Poe V. Ullman” case took place in 1961, where the USA Supreme Court failed to overturn a ruling on Connecticut law prohibiting birth control on the argument that the complainant did not face any threat from the law, and consequently, had no grounds to sue. In the case, “Justice John Marshall II” stated the right to privacy and a new view of the right. The Justice re-affirmed the importance of due process in the right to privacy case (Klein). He said that Court’s decision on this case indicated that our Nation is founded upon postulates of protection of the liberty of people and that the case hit between liberty and the requirements of modern society. The case provided critical insight on the constitutionality of the provisions of the 4th Amendment.

*Olmstead V. USA*
The Supreme Court ruled in 1928 that wiretaps acquired without a legal warrant and presented as evidence in Court did not violate the provisions of the 4th and 5th Amendments. In his argument, Associate Justice Louis stated the most contemporary pronounced provision that privacy is an individual right (Klein). In the assertion, Justice Louis moved that, “conferred against the government, the right to be let alone—the most comprehensive of rights and the rightmost favored by civilized men” (Klein). The argument also acknowledges amendments in the Constitution to protect the right to privacy.

*The 14th Amendment*
The longstanding Connecticut ban on birth control was challenged in 1961 by the PPLC, and Yale School of Medicine by initiating a Planned Parenthood clinic. Consequently, the pioneers of this clinic were arrested, proving them “standing to sue” (Klein). Referring to the 4th Amendment’s requirement of a due process, the following 1965 Supreme Court case of “Griswold V. Connecticut” brought down all state constituted restrictions on birth control. It confirmed the right to privacy as constitutional law. Other cases are dealing with the freedom to assembly, including NAACP V. Alabama in 1958 that categorically stated that “freedom to associate and privacy in one’s associations,” through the words of Justice Douglas (Klein). The case revisited both the 3rd and 9th Amendments relating to the protection of the right to privacy. After 1965 the Supreme Court has prevalently referred to the right to privacy in cases such as abortion rights, for example, in Roe V. Wade in 1973. And in sodomy doctrines, for example, in Lawrence V. Texas in 2003. The right to privacy continues to shape the USA civil liberty jurisprudence and determines the direction the country’s human right takes.

*The Case of Katz V. USA*
In 1967, the Supreme Court illegalized the 1928 Supreme Court decision on Olmstead V. USA, which allowed wiretapped information acquired without a legal warrant to be administered as evidence in a court of law. This case also provided an extension of the 4th Amendment protection to every situation where an individual demonstrates reasonable expectation of privacy (Klein).

*Privacy Act of 1974*
In 1974 the Congress passed privacy acts as an amendment of Title 5 of the USA Code to confirm a Code of “Fair Information Practice” (Klein). The code regulates the access, maintenance, dissemination, and use of personal data stored by the federal government. The act also allows people to complete access to the personal records of an individual’s data.

*Protection of Individual Finances*
In 1970, the “Fair Credit Report Act” was enacted to protect people’s financial information. The act protects personal financial data gathered by the credit bureaus, and limits access to such data. The act also ensures that people have quick access to their data without any fees, which illegalizes such institutions from operating a secret database. Further, the act limits the duration through which such data remains active on the institution’s database, after which the data must be cleared for the person’s records (Klein). Later in 1999, the Financial Monetization Act was enacted to compel financial bodies to give all customers a privacy policy describing the kind of data under collection and the intended use of such data. All these measures try to enhance the protection right to privacy.

In 1998, Children’s Online Privacy Protection Rule was passed as a remedy to issues arising from the 1995 full commercialization of the internet in the USA (Klein). The policy protects the privacy of children below 13 years old when they access internet content.

*The Freedom Act*
In 2015, Congress passed the Freedom Act to bring a lasting solution to the problem concerning the mass collection of personal records of citizens, such as the collection of American phone data (Klein).

Protection of the right to privacy has undergone several stages and processes, but the right to privacy still lacks a direct inclusion in the Constitution. It depends mainly on the 9th Amendment, which allows for the inclusion of other elements of privacy not enshrined in the Bill of Rights as part of the rights to privacy. In my view, the omission of the direct right to privacy in the Constitution allows for the development of this right, as evident in several Supreme Court cases, and the amendments are undertaken by Congress and all other state agencies to enable the evolution of this fundamental right. However, this critical constitution omission has led to severe negative Supreme Court decisions such as the Olmstead V. USA ruling.

*Protection of the Right to Privacy in the State of Nature*
A state of nature is what would exist in the absence of governments, laws, civilizations, and common power. They are two speculations of a state of nature as advocated for by Thomas Hobbes on one side, and John Locke, and Rousseau on the other side. Hobbes portrays a state of nature, which is conflictual, and turbulence (Hayhow). It is a condition under, which people are power-hungry, and constantly try to destroy one another to gain dominance. In contrast, Locke and Rousseau introduce us to the corporative state of nature, where people corporate for the common good. In Locke’s state of nature, people have all the reasons to work together as common goals define them.

Based on the two states of nature, the right to privacy would work best in Locke and Rousseau’s state of nature in such a state; people are concerned about the one other’s wellbeing in the state. No one would participate intentionally in activities capable of destroying the fabric of society. In Hobe’s state of nature, privacy would serve as a weapon against one another, so people would want to gain access to others’ private information and use such information to gain an advantage over others. People would also use other people’s names and images for personal gain in Hobe’s state of nature. Therefore, the right to privacy would work best in Locke and Rousseau’s current version of the American Government.

*Works Cited*
Carson, Michelle. Human Rights Education in the United States: An Analysis of 50 State Social Studies Standards. The University of Wisconsin-Madison, 2019.
Chandpuri, J. S., and Vivek Kumar. “Right to Privacy: Ambit and Dimension–An Overview.” Tathapi, with ISSN 2320-0693, is a UGC CARE Journal 19.35 (2020): 278-291.
Dafinova, Monika, Aaron K. Martin, and Linnet Taylor. “POLICE SURVEILLANCE DRONES AND THEIR IMPACT ON THE RIGHT TO PRIVACY.” (2019).
Goldenberg, David. “The Right to Abortion: Expansion of the Right to Privacy Through the Fourteenth Amendment.” The Catholic Lawyer 19.1 (2017): 11.
Hayhow, D. B., et al. “State of nature, 2016.” (2016).
Klein, David, and Morgan Marietta, eds. SCOTUS 2019: Major Decisions and Developments of the US Supreme Court. Springer Nature, 2019.

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