The Warren Court (1953–69)


Where did the Warren Court find this general right to privacy in the Bill of Rights?

Justice William O. Douglas, who wrote the Court’s majority opinion, determined that the right to privacy was found in several provisions of the Bill of Rights, including the First, Third, Fourth, Fifth, and Ninth Amendments. He contended that these provisions had penumbras, or zones, around them that encompassed this general right to privacy. He wrote that the case “concerns a relationship lying within the zone of privacy created by several fundamental constitutional guarantees.”

Justice Arthur Goldberg wrote a concurring opinion in which he based the right to privacy on the Ninth Amendment, which provides: “The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.” To Goldberg, the language of the Ninth Amendment meant that there are “additional fundamental rights” that exist along with those rights specifically listed in the first eight amendments.

Justice John Marshall Harlan wrote a concurring opinion in which he determined that the Connecticut law violated the Fourteenth Amendment.


This is a web preview of the "The Handy Supreme Court Answer Book" app. Many features only work on your mobile device. If you like what you see, we hope you will consider buying. Get the App