The Home School Court Report
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Cover Story
Victory! Texas Supreme Court Protects Home Schooling

Justice Stephen Breyer: A Moderate Who Threatens Religious Freedom and Private Education

Home Schoolers Released from Prison in South Africa

Litigation Report

The 1993 - '94 School Year in Review

Across the States

National Center Reports

Congressional Action Program

Across the Provinces

President’s Page

Congressional Action Program

Health Care Legislation in Congress: An Unconstitutional Effort to Socialize Health Care in America

Mark Twain once noted that no man's life, liberty, or property is safe when the Legislature is in session. If he were alive today, he might make that life, liberty, property, or health.

Many political analysts have encouraged President Clinton to pursue federal health care reform, arguing that this is a way for Democrats to appeal to the middle class. Polls show that middle-class families are tired of handing out money to poor people, but that they are more than willing to get benefits themselves. As of early July, Congress had drafted five different health plans—and all of them pose significant threats to family autonomy.

Home schoolers are committed to principles of constitutional liberty and personal responsibility. We may be the only organized group in America that is committed to "Just say no" to government benefits. While many special interest groups are trying to figure out which plan benefits them the most, or which plan they can live with, we insist on limiting the federal government to what it may constitutionally do.

Under the enumerated powers of Article 1, Section 8 of the U.S. Constitution, and the limitations contained in the Tenth Amendment, Congress should have little to say about health care. There are some exceptions. One legitimate area for federal reform would be to adjust the income tax laws so as to promote free market solutions to health care problems. For example, one alternative that has been suggested and appears to have great potential is establishing "Medical Savings Accounts" (MSAs). A MSA works like an Individual Retirement Account (IRA) by allowing individuals to save their own money, tax-free, for certain purposes. As money accumulates in the MSA, one can buy health insurance with higher "deductibles" and a lower premium. This saves money right off the bat. In addition, because the consumer is now spending his own savings rather than insurance company money, the MSA creates a strong incentive for patients to shop around for the most cost-effective health care.

There may be a few good health care reform ideas, but there are many more terrible ones. Many of the plans now on the table require a universal health identification card. Such cards pose a direct threat to family privacy, and will be objectionable to people who have sincerely held religious beliefs that such numbering systems are a precursor to the "mark of the beast." Some plans also contain troublesome vaccination requirements and health education mandates which are tied to the local school districts.

The National Center for Home Education has the challenging task of monitoring the federal legislature. As long as parental and home-school liberties are threatened, we will be watching each step of the process. When and if we must act to defend those liberties—we will alert you!

[QUOTE] "There is far more danger in public than in private monopoly; for when government goes into business, it can always shift its losses to the taxpayers. Government never makes ends meet—and that is the first requisite of business." Thomas Edison

Children in Sleepy Eye Claim Right to MTV: Object Lesson for Importance of Defeating U.N. Treaty

The town of Sleepy Eye, Minnesota, became the subject of a Washington Post feature article in June when reporters focused on a 4-0 town council vote to dump MTV from the local cable system. Representatives from other small towns across Minnesota hailed the Sleepy Eye council members as heroes, but Sleepy Eye's teens "were eager to point out that they had a constitutional right to watch a scantily clad Janet Jackson do something raunchy on a man's lap while singing her hit 'Anytime, Anyplace,' or to tune into the nightly fusillade of grunts, sniggers, flatulence and potty talk that is 'Beavis and Butt-head.'"

For young people to claim a constitutional right to MTV on the local cable channel, they must show that government action deprives them of a protected liberty or property interest without due process of law. As just one example of how the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child would empower children to make choices contrary to their parents' wishes, Article 13 1 would make "I want my MTV" a protected civil right: "[T]his right shall include freedom to seek, receive and impart information and ideas of all kinds, regardless of frontiers, either orally, in writing or in print, in the form of art, or through any other media of the child's choice."

As for the due process requirement, the Convention only permits limits on access to media if they are necessary "for the protection of national security or of public order, or of public health or morals" Article 13 2(b). The word "necessary" in the Convention has not been interpreted in light of American legal norms, but would presumably trigger what judges call "strict scrutiny." This means the Sleepy Eye Town Council, as defendants in a federal civil rights suit, would probably have to show that they had a compelling interest in public morals, and that banning MTV was the least restrictive means to achieve that interest. The government usually loses when forced to carry this burden of proof.

Leaving the legitimate issues of "censorship" for adults aside, under current U.S. law teenagers have no liberty or property interest in access to the media of their choice. Even if they did, the government would not have to pass a strict scrutiny test to limit such access. Under the Convention the teenagers of Sleepy Eye could demand a court hearing for their human rights claims—and might well win!

HSLDA's ongoing strategy to prevent the ratification of the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child is to continue to encourage everyone we can—home educators, church members, citizens, et al—to write their Senators, asking either that they withdraw their support (if they are currently signed onto S.R.70) or that they refuse to support any bid for ratification of the Treaty. We hope to see enough Senators withdraw their names from the co-sponsorship list that President Clinton will recognize the hopelessness of asking for the two-thirds vote necessary to accomplish ratification.

If you want to encourage others to call or write their Senators, the following statement is provided to assist you and may be reproduced:

If you are concerned about the impact of the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child on your authority as a parent, on the priorities and decisions in your home and family life, or in community life in your area, please write or call your Senators as soon after Labor Day as possible. The U.S. Senate has indicated that it may call for ratification of the Treaty sometime this fall. Address your letters to The Honorable _____________, U.S. Senate, Washington, DC 20510, or call the Capitol switchboard at (202) 224-3121.

There Is Good News!

All that it will take to defeat the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child are 34 Senators who solidly oppose its ratification.

Approximately 30 Senators have indicated that they will oppose the Convention.

Your calls and letters are effective! HSLDA attorney Christopher Klicka presented information on the U.N. Convention to over 3,000 people at the New York Home School Convention. He asked the attendees to commit to contacting U.S. Senator Alfonse D'Amato (R-NY), who had signed as a co-sponsor of the resolution (S.R. 70) to ratify the Convention.

A week later HSLDA learned that D'Amato had withdrawn his name as co-sponsor of the resolution. The Senator's aide explained that D'Amato had not fully understood the implications of the treaty.

This is not a time for fear, but for action!