Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Parental Rights Amendment

Mrs. Woody sent me an item that's making the email rounds. It's a proposed constitutional amendment "relating to parental rights." It was introduced into the House on June 26, and contains the following intriguing language:
`Article --

`Section 1. The liberty of parents to direct the upbringing and education of their children is a fundamental right.

`Section 2. Neither the United States nor any State shall infringe upon this right without demonstrating that its governmental interest as applied to the person is of the highest order and not otherwise served.

`Section 3. No treaty may be adopted nor shall any source of international law be employed to supersede, modify, interpret, or apply to the rights guaranteed by this article.'.
Rep. Pete Hoekstra of Michigan introduced it, and Section 1 is spot-on. You'll not get any disagreement from any homeschooling parent that this has always been one of our most fundamental rights. Truth is, the very fact that we need to make this a constitutional amendment at all is a very telling indictment of just how ludicrous our interfering governments — federal and local — have become.

Section 2, however, bothers me. Rather than leave it where it was in Section 1, the lawyers just couldn't resist keeping that little loophole in there. So long as the feds or the states fail to demonstrate that their interests are of the "highest order," then no problem. But how on earth do they define "highest order?" I know how I define it, and I hardly think I'm on the same wavelength as a bunch of legal parasites in expensive clothing.

I can pretty much guarantee that, were this amendment to actually be ratified (and it has a loooooooong way to go before that happens) the Democrats of California would expend every effort to demonstrate exactly how the "problem" of homeschooling is an issue of the "highest order." You could probably measure how long it would take them to file the first court challenges with a stop-watch. I would prefer (silly me) to have that section redacted completely. Or, failing that, some language that speaks to only allowing the government to intervene where clear and demonstrable danger to the children exists. Even this language would be frought with potential misinterpretation, so a much smarter person than I am would have to craft that section.

It really is a nice gesture, but I won't be holding my breath. It's only just been introduced. It has to fight its way through both a Pelosi House and a Reid Senate before it can even be sent to the various states for consideration. If history is any teacher, this thing will die in committee long before it makes it to our state legislatures.

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