Thursday, November 03, 2005

Hyperbole much?

Run with Ryun asks What's the Matter with the 9th Circuit?, and suggests "9th Circuit Rules Parenthood Unconstitutional."

Actually, they did no such thing, but you wouldn't know that since RwR never includes links in their stories. I had to search around until I found an AP story describing the case, and then search around some more to find the damn ruling. Like most people, I'm lazy, and hyperbolic demagogues thrive on their readers' laziness.

Anyway, here's what the court ruled (PDF):

We … hold that parents have no due process or privacy right to override the determinations of public schools as to the information to which their children will be exposed while enrolled as students. Finally, we hold that the defendants’ actions were rationally related to a legitimate state purpose.
This is a ruling entirely consistent with gallons of case-law. If parents could override educational practices ad libitum, we'd have a whole new angle in the creationism war. The fact that the state cannot forbid the teaching of evolution nor compel the teaching of creationism implies that the schools have a right to teach within a fairly broad range.

The majority writes:
We note at the outset that it is not our role to rule on the wisdom of the School District’s actions. That is a matter that must be decided in other fora.
In a different setting, they'd be praising the court's judicial restraint. But judicial restraint is only OK if it helps conservatives.

The Court specifically notes and agrees that (my emphasis):
The Supreme Court has held that the right of parents to make decisions concerning the care, custody, and control of their children is a fundamental liberty interest protected by the Due Process Clause.
So the answer to my title's question is, "yes," and the response to their first sentence is "no."

The Court goes on to note that:

As with all constitutional rights, the right of parents to make decisions concerning the care, custody, and control of their children is not without limitations
If it were, child abuse wouldn't be illegal.

Finally, the Court obserces that mandatory health classes and mandatory sex ed classes have been upheld by other courts. A voluntary questionnaire is less intrusive on parents' rights than such practices, so the 9th Circuit didn't have much choice.

Never trust Run with Ryun about anything other than jogging tips.