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Posts Tagged ‘strict scrutiny’

Record: Linda Wang, “Who Knows Best? The Appropriate Level of Judicial Scrutiny on Compulsory Education Laws Regarding Home Schooling” in Journal of Civil Rights and Economic Development, 25 (Winter 2011); 413-448.

Summary: Wang, who earned her J.D. from St. John’s University School of Law, here seeks to make sense of the conflicting and hazy Constitutional principles at play in cases regarding homeschooling law and liberty.

There are two basic issues.  First is the 14th Amendment, which says that no state can deprive a person of life, liberty, or property without “due process of law.”  This is the due process clause, which has been used in the ensuing decades to do all sorts of things, from extending the bill of rights to the states to protecting rights that are not explicitly mentioned in the Amendment itself, most notably the “right to privacy.”  It is this right to privacy jurisprudence that is most important for homeschooling law.  Interestingly, it was the cases on birth control and abortion (both of which many homeschoolers renounce) that secured the right to privacy on which constitutional claims for homeschooling rights rests.  Cases like Meyer v. Nebraska, Pierce v. Society of Sisters, and Troxel v. Granville have made it clear that the right of a biological parent to direct the education of his or her child is fundamental, meaning that if a state is going to abridge that right it needs to have a compelling interest for doing so and must do so in the least invasive means possible.  This is called strict scrutiny, and it is the highest threshold possible for government infringement of individual rights.

The problem is that many, many lower court decisions have validated compulsory education laws, which infringe on parental homeschooling freedoms, at lower levels of scrutiny (often called “rational basis” or “intermediate scrutiny”).  Why?  Because the same Supreme Court that declared parenting a fundamental right has also declared on many occasions that public school laws are valid forms of “reasonable relation.”  The Supreme Court ITSELF has not applied strict scrutiny to compulsory school laws despite its own holding that parental rights are fundamental. (more…)

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This post reviews Linda Wang, “Who Knows Best? The Appropriate Level of Judicial Scrutiny on Compulsory Education Laws Regarding Home Schooling” in Journal of Civil Rights and Economic Development, 25 (Winter 2011); 413-448.

Wang, a recent J.D. from St. John’s University School of Law, here seeks to make sense of the conflicting and hazy Constitutional principles at play in cases regarding homeschooling law and liberty. (more…)

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This post reviews Teri Dobbins Baxter, “Private Oppression: How Laws that Protect Privacy Can Lead to Oppression” in Kansas Law Review 58, no. 2 (January 2010): 415-471   [Available for purchase here]

Baxter, Professor of Law at St. Louis University, here seeks to get leverage on how to best handle the FLDS (Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints) issue that blew up in Texas two years ago.  As I described in a recent post, the FLDS made the news in a big way when their Texas compound was raided in April of 2008 by Texas State authorities, who removed 437 children from the site, prompting the largest child custody battle in U.S. history and enormous media coverage.

After summarizing the raid and its aftermath, Baxter does two things.  First, she surveys the various U.S. Constitutional issues the situation raises.  Second, she delves deeply into most of the important state-level court cases that have limned the extent of parental rights in terms of homeschooling.  Why her focus on homeschooling law?  Read on to find out.  (more…)

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