Agents of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics (defendant) entered Bivens’s (plaintiff) apartment, searched it, and arrested him without a warrant. The search and arrest were conducted in front of Bivens’s wife and children and the agents threatened to arrest his whole family. Bivens brought suit against the agents for violation of his Fourth Amendment rights. The agents argued that Bivens’s right to privacy is based in state law and thus a claim should be brought in state court. The district court dismissed the complaint for failure to state a cause of action and the court of appeals affirmed. Bivens appealed.