Cantwell: Next Supreme Court Justice Must Stand Up for Americans’ Privacy Rights

EDMONDS, WA – Today, U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA), the Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, released the following statement outlining the critical importance of the U.S. Supreme Court in safeguarding Americans’ privacy rights: 

“More than 9 million Americans have already voted in the 2020 election, with more voting each day. The U.S. Senate should respect the voice of the American people, and the decision about this Supreme Court vacancy should be decided by the next President and the next Congress.

“Long-settled privacy laws are at stake.  In 1965, Washington state’s own Justice Douglas ruled Americans’ rights are protected by the U.S. Constitution. Even though privacy rights do not appear in the literal text of the Constitution, Justice Douglas found them in the penumbra of the Bill of Rights’ First, Third, Fourth, and Ninth Amendments.

“Almost fifty year ago, the U.S. Supreme Court found privacy rights protect a woman’s right to choose in the landmark Roe v. Wade decision. In 1991, Washington state codified that right by a vote of the people in Initiative 120. President Trump promised to only appoint judges who would overturn Roe. It raises questions about how a textualist like Judge Barrett, who interprets law based on the legal text, will rule on these important rights. The issue of a woman's right to choose her own health care is long-settled law. This is the mainstream view of American people, and they expect it to be upheld.

“Our privacy rights are more important than ever, particularly in an era when both the government and corporations have violated those rights. Privacy laws are going to determine how much of our data is available to federal government and law enforcement, facial recognition systems, and data brokers. They will determine how much corporations are going to be able to access our personal information. Every American has a stake in their privacy rights as they have been found in the First, Third, Fourth, Ninth, and Fourteenth Amendments. We need a Justice who will stand up for our constitutional rights.”