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The Constitutional ParentRights, Responsibilities, and the Enfranchisement of the Child$
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Jeffrey Shulman

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780300191899

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: January 2015

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300191899.001.0001

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Parenting as A Sacred Right

Parenting as A Sacred Right

(p.93) Three Parenting as A Sacred Right
The Constitutional Parent

Jeffrey Shulman

Yale University Press

The right to parent as a matter of constitutional law is especially tenuous. The Supreme Court has on occasion echoed the popular assumption that the right of parents to make decisions concerning the care, custody, and nurture of their children is a fundamental one, deeply rooted in legal tradition and honored by the work of the Court. But no Supreme Court holding—including those of the seminal parenting cases Meyer and Pierce, and modern variants like Yoder and Troxel—supports this claim. If the rigor of the Court with regard to the regulation of parental authority has varied, its scrutiny has never been strict. In fact, more than once the Court has declined the opportunity to adopt this position. As Justice Antonin Scalia has observed, there is little decisional support for the notion that the right to parent is a “substantive constitutional right” at all, let alone a fundamental one.

Keywords:   right to parent, constitutional law, strict scrutiny, Supreme Court parenting cases, regulation of parental authority

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