January 14, 2016
Are Your Parental Rights Safe?
Until 2000 our nation consistently maintained that parents possess a fundamental implied right to raise their children as they see fit. The US Supreme Court has identified specific categories of rights that are protected in the Constitution. Explicit rights are expressly stated in the text of the Constitution. An implied right must be drawn from the other provisions of the Constitution, which imply that the right exists — in the Court’s determination. Until recently, courts have consistently ruled that implied rights are entitled to the same protections as explicit rights.
In the 2000 case of Troxel v. Granville (530 U.S. 57, 66), the question arose: Are parental rights fundamental rights? While six US Supreme Justices agreed that parental rights are protected under the U.S. Constitution, thus finding for Troxel in the ruling, only four of these – a minority of the high court – held that parental rights are fundamental. Troxel v. Granville also contains language that would seem to uphold the traditional view of fundamental parental rights. Unfortunately, the Supreme Court Justices vacated the earlier strict scrutiny test that required proof of harm before the government could interfere with parental rights, instead granting to judges the power to balance parental rights on a case-by-case basis.
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