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Equality and Liberty in the Golden Age of State Constitutional Law$
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Jeffrey M. Shaman

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780195334340

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195334340.001.0001

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The Right of Privacy

The Right of Privacy

(p.121) 4 The Right of Privacy
Equality and Liberty in the Golden Age of State Constitutional Law

Jeffrey M. Shaman

Oxford University Press

The right of privacy or individual autonomy is an essential element of liberty. The right of privacy may encompass the right to marry and have a family, the right of reproductive freedom, the right of bodily integrity, the right to ingest substances, the right to refuse medical treatment, the right to die, and the right of intimate association. Early state conceptions of the right of privacy were based on the belief that there is a right to be let alone and the philosophic principle that the government has no authority to restrict individual liberty except to prevent harm to others. State courts also maintained that the right of privacy was a natural or fundamental right, inherent in the penumbra of constitutional liberties. In modern times, while the federal conception of privacy became dormant, the state right of privacy is dynamic, and more responsive to the evolving needs of society.

Keywords:   autonomy, self-determination, liberty

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