306.660.01 | AY 2013-2014 - 4th Term | 3 Credit(s)
TTh 3:30:00 PM
  • Contact Information
    Joanne Rosen
  • Course Learning Objectives

    Upon successfully completing this course, students will be able to:

    • Understand the constitutional concept of “privacy” as protected by the 14th Amendment of the Constitution.
    • Understand and be able to evaluate the state justifications for regulating intimate and private decisions, actions and relations.
    • Understand the complex relationship between individual autonomy and the public good
    • Understand and be able to analyze the substantive law on privacy topics including abortion, contraception, marital and non-marital intimate relations, same-sex intimate relations and same-sex marriage.
    • Be able to evaluate the reasoning of judicial opinions on privacy topics.
  • Course Description
    Examines the ways in which the state regulates intimate and private relations and the justifications for such regulation. Particularly focuses on the attention paid to the public health and morality justifications offered by the state for the enactment and enforcement of privacy laws. Topics include: when state regulation of intimate decisions, actions and relationships is justified; the regulation of consensual sexual activity; the regulation of contraception and abortion; the regulation of same-sex sexual activity; and the regulation of same-sex marriage.
  • Intended Audience
    graduate and undergraduate students at the School

    Additional Faculty Notes:

    Non-lawyers who are interested in learning about how and why the state has regulated intimate decisions, relationships and conduct. Course is open to graduate students at the School. Course is also open to undergraduates with permission of the instructor.

  • Methods of Assessment

    Two written comments (40%); research paper (50%); and class participation (10%)

    Additional Faculty Notes:

    Preparation of 2 short written comments based on the assigned weekly readings. Each short comment should be a critical reflection on the ideas and arguments contained in the materials. You will choose 2 sets of weekly readings over the course of the term and submit your comments to me at the beginning of the class in which we will discuss those readings. This is not a research paper and you are not expected or permitted to base your comments on any sources other than the assigned readings for that topic. The comments will be 2-3 pages in length. Students are welcome to submit more than 2 written comments. If you submit more than 2 comments, only the 2 best comments (i.e., comments that receive the highest grades) will be included in the final grade; I will “drop” the comment(s) with the lowest grade(s).  (First comment: 20% of grade. Second comment: 20% of grade. Total: 40% of grade)

    Research paper on one of the topics covered in the course. This paper will give you the opportunity to delve more deeply into one of the topics covered in the course. The paper will be 10-12 pages in length (double-spaced). References should be included in endnotes. The page length of the paper does not include endnotes. You will select your own topic but I must approve it. (50% of grade).

    The research paper is due on or before May 9, 2014 at 5:00 pm.

    Active and thoughtful participation in class discussion (10% of grade)

  • Prerequisites
  • Required Text(s)

    Additional Faculty Notes:

    None. Readings for each class will be posted on Courseplus and Ares. Please print the readings for each topic and bring them to class with you. Class discussion will be based on these readings.

  • Course Schedule

    Please see the course Session for a full list of dates and items for this course.

  • Academic Ethics Code

    Students enrolled in the Bloomberg School of Public Health of The Johns Hopkins University assume an obligation to conduct themselves in a manner appropriate to the University's mission as an institution of higher education. A student is obligated to refrain from acts which he or she knows, or under the circumstances has reason to know, impair the academic integrity of the University. Violations of academic integrity include, but are not limited to: cheating; plagiarism; knowingly furnishing false information to any agent of the University for inclusion in the academic record; violation of the rights and welfare of animal or human subjects in research; and misconduct as a member of either School or University committees or recognized groups or organizations.

  • Course topics

    Topic areas covered by the course include:

    • What is privacy and why do we value it?
    • The Regulation of Consensual Intimate Relations: Marital intimate Relations, Same-sex intimate Relations, Intimate Relations Involving Minors

    • The Regulation of Marriage

    • The Regulation of Reproduction: Abortion, Informed Consent, Access to Contraception

  • Disability Support Services
    If you are a student with a documented disability who requires an academic accommodation, please contact the Office of Student Life Services at 410-955-3034 or via email at