San Diego Law Review

Article Title

Privacy as Struggle

Library of Congress Authority File


Document Type

Symposium Article


The title of this short essay is "Privacy as Struggle," a title meant in part to capture the Court's requirement of superhuman individual efforts to attain secrecy, that is, totally veiling one's activities from the state's prying eyes as an essential prerequisite to the existence of privacy, all too often at the expense of human relationships, interpersonal trust, and political voice. I want, therefore, to paint an apocalyptic vision of the Court's Fourth Amendment privacy jurisprudence, as the reader will no doubt have noticed I have already done in connection with my reading of Hoffa. I want to do so not because I truly believe that the end of civil liberties is coming, but rather because I believe that the apocalyptic attitude can sharpen our understanding of the consequences of the Court's conception of privacy. Merely screaming, "The sky is falling! The sky is falling!" is sometimes part of what helps to keep it up in heaven, to stop a small shift away from sound civil liberties ideals from snowballing into a more rapid descent down the slippery slope into civil liberties Armageddon.