Privacy Beyond Search and Seizure
During the 1950s and 1960s, in interpreting the Fourth Amendment the Supreme Court began to emphasize the need to protect privacy. While earlier Courts had ruled that the Fourth Amendment protects both property and privacy, the Warren Court began to see the protection of privacy as the amendment's primary objective. The main purpose of the Fourth Amendment, as the Warren Court saw it, was to draw a line between the sphere of life that is private and the sphere of life into which government may interject itself. This meant that in interpreting the Fourth Amendment, the Court would have to decide where police could go without a warrant, and, beginning in 1965, which personal decisions government could interfere with.
In 1965 the Court began to expand the concept of a constitutional right to privacy beyond the borders of search and seizure. The case of Griswold v. Connecticut (see p. 126) concerned a Connecticut statute that made it a crime to sell or prescribe contraceptives to women. Estelle Griswold, the director of a Planned Parenthood clinic, and Dr. Buxton, the prescribing physician, were convicted of prescribing a contraceptive to a married woman at the clinic. Their convictions were overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court.
Justice Douglas wrote an opinion, joined by Justice Clark, in which he ruled that there was a general right of privacy contained in the U.S. Consti-