Federal Privacy Notions
by Paul Hein
There is considerable anguish expressed about the Supreme Court's striking down a Texas law prohibiting homosexual sodomy, declaring that the law was an unconstitutional violation of privacy. Until 1960, there were no states without anti-sodomy laws, and even today thirteen states retain them — or did, until now. The Supreme Court ruling is regarded as the beginning of the end of anti-same-sex marriage laws, and an assault upon family life, and normal marriage.
Well, gee whiz! You can't make a privacy omelet without breaking a few eggs! And who better to do it than the Supremes? The very idea that Texas can make laws regulating the actions of people in Texas is simply mind-boggling. Who do those Texans think they are? And what gives them, or any other group, the right to think that they can determine Constitutionality on their own? Just open your copy of that document, my friend, and there, in big letters, you'll find "The Constitutionality of Any Law Is To Be Determined By the U.S. Supreme Court." Well, OK, maybe it doesn't say that in so many words; maybe it doesn't say so at all, or even imply it; but are we going to quibble about legal niceties when the homosexual agenda is involved? I should think not!
Privacy is what drove the Supreme Court to legalize abortion, as well. What transpires between a woman and her obstetrician is private, and not subject to laws regulating it by the states in which it occurs. Again, it served the states right for thinking that they could make judgments regarding constitutionality on their own, or even exercise jurisdiction within their boundaries where such an important, if newly-discovered right, as abortion was concerned. What could more obviously be a federal matter?
There is, however, just one niggling doubt in my mind about this whole privacy thing: it seems to be so selective. For example, if a woman wants to get rid of her unborn child, no state can prevent her from doing so, because it's a private matter. Well, sure! What if she wants to get rid of her husband? Is what transpires between a woman and her hit-man as private as her dealings with her abortionist? Private is private, isn't it? In fact, the deal with the hit man is probably more private than that with the abortionist; many women are quite open in admitting that they terminated their child in utero, while few will acknowledge planning to bump off the old boy. Of course, killing a husband is a crime, but so was killing an unborn child at one time. We have to modernize our thinking, and maybe this privacy thing is the way to go.
Still, it bothers me. If the state cannot go into the bedroom, can it go into the boardroom? Weren't Martha Stewart's dealings also private — between her and her broker? And what about the privacy that must surely exist between a woman and her accountant? Must she bare all regarding her financial affairs when the government wants to know? Do you think the tax man will slink away when he's told that one's financial dealings are private, and thereby exempt from government control and regulation?
It's evidently a very complicated affair, and I just don't understand it. The loss of personal privacy resulting from the Patriot Act, for instance, is hard to reconcile with the right to privacy regarding sodomy and abortion. But at least in the government's defense of personal privacy, two very deserving groups came up winners: aborting moms and randy homosexuals, whose gaiety must now be well-nigh unbearable. I hope they don't resort to the use of drugs to enhance their celebrations. Even when used in private, such drug use is forbidden, oddly enough.
Well, there's a job for the Court's next session!
June 28, 2003
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