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U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia in Warrensburg, Missouri on March 4, 2008:

[Do you believe that there is a right to privacy under the United States Constitution?]

Oh, there certainly is and it us, uh, contained in the Fourth Amendment. And it says “that the people shall be secure in their persons, houses, papers and effects against unreasonable searches and seizures.” Period. There is not a generalized right of privacy, whatever that means. What is a generalized right of privacy [garbled]? One of our, one of our, one of our opinions says it means “the right to be left alone”. [laughter] Right. This is anarchy…

…[wire tapping] So, there is no, what should I say, exclusion from democratic debate of – conversations. It’s something for the people to decide whether you should have wiretapping or not….[as practice now]…This generalized right of privacy which comes from, what is it, penumbras and emanations from the Fourth and a lot of other ridiculous stuff. Uh, you know the consequences of that? Surely one of the major policy issues around these days is whether, uh, the Federal government can listen in on these international phone calls to find what the bad guys are doing. It used to be up to the Congress to decide whether the danger was high enough and the risk of invading people’s privacy high enough to permit that. No longer. It’s a question for me now. It’s a question for me. That’s what happens when you, when you read more and more stuff into the Constitution – you reduce democracy.

[emphasis added]

Speaker Pro Tem Denny Hoskins (r), today:

Denny Hoskins, CPA

Speaker Pro Tem

Missouri House of Representatives

District 54


Capitol Report

March 13, 2014

Prioritizing Missourian’s Privacy

The United States Constitution guarantees citizens the right to privacy, but with the law failing to keep up with technology sometimes that right can fall into question. HB 1388 (Cornejo) prevents law enforcement from tracking the location of your electronic devices without a warrant. Exemptions are made if the device is stolen, an emergency call is made from the device, in life-threatening situations, and if the owner gives consent. This bill would make information obtained outside these exceptions inadmissible in court and helps protects Missourians from law enforcement encroaching in their private lives.


“…The United States Constitution guarantees citizens the right to privacy…”

“…There is not a generalized right of privacy, whatever that means…”

Representative Denny Hoskins (r) isn’t quite subscribing to “originalist” doctrine. The thing is, Antonin Scalia is one of nine people who would have the final word on the matter.


Antonin Scalia: on privacy, then and now (May 8, 2009)

Antonin Scalia in Warrensburg, part 4 (March 7, 2008)