The Right to Privacy

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CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, 2010 - Law - 64 pages
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Warren and Brandeis's "The Right to Privacy," with 2010 Foreword by Steven Alan Childress, J.D., Ph.D., a senior law professor at Tulane University. Includes photos and rare news clippings. Part of the "Legal Legends Series" by Quid Pro Books.

The most influential piece of legal scholarship, many scholars say, is this 1890 "Harvard Law Review" article by two Boston lawyers (one of whom later became a legendary Supreme Court Justice). Warren and Brandeis created -- by cleverly weaving strands of precedent, policy, and logic -- the legal concept of privacy and the power of legal protection for that right. Their clear and effective prose stands the test of time, and influenced such modern notions as "inviolate personality" and law's "elasticity." They saw the threat of new technology.

Most of all, they asserted the fundamental "right to be let alone," and its implications to modern law are profound. Their privacy concept has grown over the decades, now raising issues about abortion, drug testing, surveillance, sexual orientation, free speech, the "right to die," and medical confidentiality. All these spinoffs trace their origins to this master work. It is simply one of the most significant parts of the modern canon of law, politics, and sociology.

The extensive new Foreword by Professor Childress shares not only this import and effect, but also the fascinating backstory behind the article. Its origins are found in Warren's own prickly experiences with the press and the "paparazzi" of the day, famously after their reports about and photos of his family weddings.

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About the author (2010)

Louis D. Brandeis (1856-1941) was an Associate Justice on the Supreme Court of the United States from 1916 to 1939. He enrolled at Harvard Law School, graduating at the age of twenty with the highest grade average in the college's history. Brandeis settled in Boston where he became a recognized lawyer through his work on social causes that would benefit society. He helped develop the "right to privacy" concept by writing a Harvard Law Review article of that title, and was thereby credited by legal scholar Roscoe Pound as having accomplished "nothing less than adding a chapter to our law." Years later, a book he published, entitled Other People's Money, suggested ways of curbing the power of large banks and money trusts, which partly explains why he later fought against powerful corporations, monopolies, public corruption, and mass consumerism, all of which he felt were detrimental to American values and culture. He also became active in the Zionist movement, seeing it as a solution to the "Jewish problem" of antisemitism in Europe and Russia, while at the same time being a way to "revive the Jewish spirit." When his family's finances became secure, he began devoting most of his time to public causes and was later dubbed the "People's Lawyer." He insisted on serving on cases without pay so that he would be free to address the wider issues involved. The Economist magazine calls him "A Robin Hood of the law." Among his notable early cases were actions fighting railroad monopolies; defending workplace and labor laws; helping create the Federal Reserve System; and presenting ideas for the new Federal Trade Commission (FTC). He achieved recognition by submitting a case brief, later called the "Brandeis Brief," which relied on expert testimony from people in other professions to support his case, thereby setting a new precedent in evidence presentation. In 1916, President Woodrow Wilson nominated Brandeis to become a member of the U.S. Supreme Court. He was eventually confirmed by the Senate by a vote of 47 to 22 on June 1, 1916, and became one of the most famous and influential figures ever to serve on the high court. His opinions were, according to legal scholars, some of the "greatest defenses" of freedom of speech and the right to privacy ever written by a member of the high court.

Woodrow Wilson was the 28th President of the United States and a renowned scholar of government and legal philosophy. He studied law at UVa, earned his Ph.D. in history and political science at Johns Hopkins, and became a professor and later president at Princeton.

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