July 8, 1986 |
In some ways, the Supreme Court's 5-4 decision upholding Georgia's sodomy law defies analysis. As Oscar Hammerstein wrote: "Who can explain it? Who can tell you why? Fools give you reasons. Wise men never try. " Who can explain a Supreme Court that in one case finds a constitutional right to privacy which allows a woman to abort the product of a heterosexual act between herself and a man, yet finds no such right to privacy between members of the same sex performing acts of sodomy which do not result in such a product?
February 16, 1987 |
When Ronald Reagan began his political career in 1966 by running for governor of California, he insisted he was not really a politician. Career politicians with happy illusions about the high-mindedness of their profession were annoyed by his refusal to be one of them. Journalists tended to dismiss Reagan's assertion as a confession of ignorance or a ploy by his managers to make a virtue of his inexperience. Certainly, there was an element of calculation in Reagan's refusal to accept the "politician" label.
November 26, 1990 |
Nearly two decades have passed since William C. Massinger, a prominent Chester County lawyer and former assistant district attorney, was accused of assaulting and raping his former girlfriend. No charges were ever filed. But a disciplinary board of the local bar association initiated an inquiry into Massinger's conduct, finding substance in most of the allegations. The panel recommended that he be censured publicly. Instead, five Common Pleas Court judges in West Chester issued a private reprimand, ordered the board's findings secret and stored them away in the basement of the county courthouse.
February 21, 2013
HARRISBURG - The Pennsylvania Supreme Court upheld a lower-court ruling Tuesday that the state constitution does not give people a right to privacy when it comes to their home addresses, clarifying a matter that has emerged as a major point of dispute under the Right-to-Know Law. The justices gave their approval to a January 2012 Commonwealth Court decision throwing out a lawsuit by Mel M. Marin, a prospective congressional candidate who would not...
March 27, 1989 |
The Supreme Court discovered the computer age last week, while delivering a body blow to the Freedom of Information Act, and demonstrating the growing conflict between an individual's "right to privacy" and the people's "right to know. " In a unanimous decision, the high court ruled that individual criminal histories maintained by the FBI are not subject to disclosure under the 1966 freedom-of-information law. The sweeping ruling surprised even the Justice Department, which had made the more limited argument that decisions on when to release such records should be made on a case-by-case basis.
November 14, 2007
The editorial "Keep e?mail o-p-e-n" (Inquirer, Nov. 11) criticized my position excluding e-mail from the definition of public records in the Open Records legislation currently under consideration by the General Assembly. First, the headline implies that e-mail are considered public records in Pennsylvania - they are not. But they are subject to review in Pennsylvania pursuant to a court order. E-mail are a quick, efficient form of communication which have, to some degree, become a substitute for phone calls, and many people have an expectation of privacy in their e-mail correspondence.
February 8, 1998 |
Privacy is dead. And as a nation, we're not sure what that means. Lives are on public display with or without our consent. Heck, even the President's sex life is on the air - though blessedly not on film yet. (We won't count the oft-rerun reception line hugs of Monica Lewinsky, magnified a thousand-fold by endless repetition on the airwaves.) Surveillance cameras record our comings and goings in the hallways of our workplaces, seats of government, halls of healing, day-care centers, our grand public spaces.
September 22, 1987 |
With talk of "emanations" and "penumbras" and "free-floating rights to privacy," the Robert Bork hearings sound like static from Cloud 9. Emanations and penumbras, we'll get to. But first that "free-floating privacy" of the bedroom; it's what the Senate free-for-all is all about. Is there really an all-sheltering niche in the Constitution for whatever goes on behind closed doors, in private? Or is the niche merely what Bork calls the product of a liberal high court's fevered imagination - unanchored rights floating free as a "cloud.
June 7, 1999 |
When the Supreme Court recently ruled that the police should no longer take reporters and photographers into private homes when they make an arrest or search, Inquirer police reporter Tom Gibbons cheered. So did I. Some free-press advocates defend ride-alongs, contending that they enable journalists to serve as watchdogs to ensure that the police and other law officials are performing within the letter of the law. Given the stream of recent police brutality cases, that reasoning is understandable.
March 23, 2004 |
FOR MOST people, "privacy" is a sacred concept, enshrined in the Bill of Rights. While an actual "right to privacy" is never mentioned in the first 10 amendments to the Constitution, Americans believe, by and large, that the government has no right to interfere in the most intimate areas of our lives. And they would be correct. A line of cases, starting with Griswold v. Connecticut (access to contraception), through Roe v. Wade (abortion), culminating in the recent Lawrence v. Texas (tossing out anti-sodomy laws)