House Bill 496: Establishes that Parental Rights are a Fundamental Right

Mississippi
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Last Updated: January 7, 2014
House Bill 496: Establishes that Parental Rights are a Fundamental Right
Sponsors:
Representative Brown
Summary:

This bill would establish the fundamental right of parents to direct the upbringing, education, and care of their children.

HSLDA's Position:
Support.
Action Requested:
None at this time
Status:

Died in Chamber. See "Bill History" link below.

Background:

The application of strict scrutiny legal protection to the fundamental right of parents to direct the upbringing, education, and care of their children is well established in nearly every state. But this standard is established through jurisprudence, and not as a matter of legislative law.

Where state level jurisprudence has established this strict scrutiny protection, it is almost always based, in whole or in part, on federal Supreme Court precedent. This fundamental right, first articulated in Meyer v. Nebraska, 262 U.S. 390 (1923), has been more fully expounded through Pierce v. Society of Sisters, 268 U.S. 510 (1925), Prince v. Massachusetts, 321 U.S. 158 (1944) and a stream of other cases.

But this standard is beginning to erode at the U.S. Supreme Court. The Troxel v. Granville decision, 530 U.S. 57 (2000), implicated this fundamental right, yet without application of the high strict scrutiny standard—the first time the two terms have been divorced in American jurisprudence.

Passing a state statute to define parental rights and legislate for the application of strict scrutiny protection to this right will:

  • Establish fundamental parental rights and the application of strict scrutiny protection as a matter of statutory law;
  • Prevent the erosion of this right now occurring at the federal level from poisoning the jurisprudence of the State courts;
  • Protect parents from the overreach of government while preserving the State’s interest in protecting children from abuse or neglect;
  • Protect the right of children in healthy homes to be raised and guided by parents who love them, not by bureaucrats or judges who do not know them.
  • NOT create any new rights or standards, but simply take the right currently protected under case law and place it under the shelter of statutory law, safe from possible erosion in the courts.

 Other Resources

Bill Text

Bill History