The Right To Privacy

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The Right To Privacy”
Samuel Warren

Louis Brandeis

Evolution of legal protections of persons:
Stage 1: Protection from direct physical interference with life, involving laws against battery, kidnapping, murder, etc..
Stage 2: Protection from attempts at physical injury (“assault” as opposed to “battery”)
Stage 3: Protection from nuisances (excessive noise, smoke, dust, etc.)
Stage 4: Protection of reputation, involving laws against slander and libel.
The evolution of protections against property proceeded in a similar way, beginning with laws against physical theft and vandalism, and eventually extending to protection of “intellectual property.”
“The right to life has come to mean the right to enjoy life, --the right to be let alone; the right to liberty secures the exercise of extensive civil privelges; and the term “property” has grown to comprise every form of possession – intangible, as well as tangible”
“This development of the law was inevitable…only a part of the pain, pleasure, and profit of life lay in physical things. Thoughts, emotions, and sensations demanded legal recognition, and the beautiful capacity for growth which characterizes the common law enabled the judges to afford the requisite protection, without the interposition of the legislature.”
In other words, these new legal protections were interpreted into existence by judges, rather than legislated (see also footnote on bottom of p. 213)

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