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Parental Authority Gets a Boost From Dobbs

American parents who believe that public schools are violating their right to direct their children’s education have recently achieved ballot victories from Virginia to San Francisco. They may also have a judicial remedy in court, which was made easier by last month’s Supreme Court ruling Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization.

This decision overturned the constitutional right to abortion, which is not mentioned in the constitution. Neither do parental rights. But Judge Samuel Alito’s majority opinion recognized a key difference that strongly favors the latter.

Justice Alito followed the standard set by Chief Justice William Rehnquist Washington versus Glücksberg (1997), who dismissed a claim that the constitution protects the right to physician-assisted suicide. lucky mountain held that the due process clause of the 14th Amendment protects the rights of individuals if and only if they are “deeply rooted in the history and tradition of that nation” and “implicit in the concept of orderly liberty.”

Unlike assisted suicide and abortion, parental rights fit squarely into the “ingrained” standard. The Supreme Court recognized almost a century ago that the rights of parents are constitutionally inviolable Meyer versus Nebraska (1923) and Pierce against the sisters’ company (1925). Both decisions were authored by Justice James McReynolds, and both dealt with a massive intrusion of government power into traditionally private affairs, fueled by the World War I-era push for a domestic monoculture to serve the exigencies of wartime during the war .

in the Meier, The judges considered a Nebraska law that banned the teaching of German, Italian, French, Spanish and other modern languages ​​seen as divisive to youth. The Oregon Act in pierce was even more drastic in supplanting parental authority over their children’s education: the law virtually banned all private education up to the eighth grade.

in the Meier, McReynolds, passed by a 7-2 majority, likened the Nebraska law to the military indoctrination of male youths characteristic of ancient Sparta but utterly out of place in American self-government. In an apt response to today’s anti-parenting ideologies, the court in pierce unanimously concluded that the constitutional order requires a space of liberty to protect the relationship between parents and their child: “The child is not the mere creature of the state; those who feed him and direct his destiny have the right, coupled with a heavy duty, to recognize him and prepare him for additional commitments.”

In the decades that followed, the Supreme Court reaffirmed the fundamental status of parental rights. in the May against Anderson (1953) the judges found that a mother’s right to “the care, custody, guidance and supervision of her minor children” is a “much more valuable” interest than any property right. in the Wisconsin vs. Yoder (1972) they concluded that parental rights are firmly rooted in “the history and culture of Western civilization” and “undisputedly established”. And in Troxel vs Granville, In a 2000 ruling, the Supreme Court invalidated a Washington law that empowered state courts to review custodial parents’ views about whether “third parties” — in this case, grandparents — should have visitation rights to minor children, to disregard. In an opinion for a plurality of four judges, Justice Sandra Day O’Connor emphasized that parental rights are “the oldest of the fundamental liberty interests,” dating back to 1996 Meier and pierce.

Already before dobbs, Federal judges cited this series of cases to uphold recent parental rights claims. In May, Judge Holly Teeter ordered a Kansas school policy that prohibits teachers from disclosing a transgender student’s “preferred first name and pronoun” when communicating with parents. Although the plaintiff in Ricard for $475 As a teacher, Judge Teeter did everything to punish the school’s interference with parental rights. Quote pierce and Troxell, She questioned why a school would even “claim an interest in withholding or concealing from the parents of underage children information fundamental to a child’s identity, personality, and mental and emotional well-being.”

In March, Judge Trevor McFadden issued an injunction against a local law that allows children as young as 11 to be vaccinated without their parents’ consent and requires health care providers and schools to hide immunization records from parents who have requested a religious exemption . parents supposedly Stand against Bowser that the government has created a “pressure-cooker environment, alluring and psychologically manipulative [their minor children] to defy their parents and get vaccinated against their parents’ wishes.” Judge McFadden asked the city to produce evidence of the law’s public utility sufficient to justify the lack of parental consent.

The Supreme Court has not always collapsed along predictable ideological lines when deciding parental rights cases. Rehnquist concurred with Judge O’Connor’s opinion Troxel, as did Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen Breyer. Judge Antonin Scalia disagreed, arguing that “if we accept this unenumerated right . . . We will usher in a new regime of court-mandated and federal-mandated family law.”

But now that the majority has embraced the idea of ​​“ingrained,” unenumerated rights, parents can breathe a sigh of relief that the Constitution is on their side.

Mr. Toth is an attorney in Austin, Texas.

Wonderland: While 17 House Democrats, including Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib, staged an arrest for Instagram over abortion rights, President Biden says he will use his executive powers to “fight the US climate crisis”. Lack of action by Congress.’ Images: Bloomberg News/Zuma Press Composite: Mark Kelly

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