This Article re-examines the landmark cases comprising the backbone of the family privacy doctrine and discloses, within the folds of their rhetoric of individual liberty, a policy of privacy promoting nuclear families. The re-examination of the landmark cases in Part II demonstrates that the policy of family privacy is to foster the creation and longevity of traditional, nuclear families. Part II illustrates how this policy has become more clearly articulated over time through the Court’s restrictive interpretation of fundamental rights and its recent decision in Troxel v. Granville, the much-awaited ruling on grandparental visitation rights. In Part III, this Article turns to another body of privacy cases, namely, those vindicating the right to individual autonomy, and locates within their treatment of individual sexual and procreative decisions a notable concern for the well-being of nuclear families. This concern, in turn, influences the contours of these individual freedoms. This fresh look at these cases indicates that the quality of privacy vested in individuals depends upon the impact of individual autonomy on the integrity of nuclear families. If the impact is beneficial, individual autonomy is recognized; if it is detrimental, individual autonomy suffers. Parts IV and V explore whether policy reform will attenuate the nuclear family bias deployed through the Supreme Court’s privacy jurisprudence.
Richard F. Storrow,
Policy of Family Privacy: Uncovering the Bias in Favor of Nuclear Families in American Consitutional Law and Policy Reform, The,
66 Mo. L. Rev.
Available at: https://scholarship.law.missouri.edu/mlr/vol66/iss3/1