The Home School Court Report
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Cover Story
Home Visits Ruled Unconstitutional by Mass. Supreme Judicial Court

Special Features
A Scorecard for the 105th Congress

Another Home Schooling Statesman

National Center Reports
Vocational Education Bill Passes With Protection

Preparing for the 106th Congress

FDIC Drafts “Know Your Customer” Regulations

Children’s Scholarship Fund Moves Forward

Free Computers for Home Schoolers

Across the States
State by State

Regular Features
Press Clippings

Notes to Members

Prayer and Praise

Active Cases

President’s Page

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Religious Freedom Amendment Passes
    The right to home school rests on the two pillars of religious freedom and parental rights. Alabama voters reinforced the pillar of religious freedom when they approved the Alabama Religious Freedom Amendment in the general election on November 3, 1998. This amendment to the Alabama Constitution forbids the state from burdening any person’s religious freedom unless it can show a “compelling governmental interest” and that the law is the “least restrictive means” of furthering that compelling interest. Religious freedom in Alabama has been restored to a fundamental right.
    Fundamental rights, in comparison to ordinary rights, are subject to the “compelling governmental interest” test when being analyzed by courts. On the other hand, ordinary rights of citizens are scrutinized by application of what is known as the “rational basis test.” When the compelling governmental interest test is employed, the court must find that the state regulation in question is necessary to achieve a compelling governmental interest and that the proposed regulation is the least restrictive means of achieving the state’s interest. On the other hand, when the rational basis test is employed in adjudicating issues involving ordinary rights, the state needs only to prove that the proposed regulation has a rational relationship to a legitimate governmental interest.
    Because most parents who teach their children at home in Alabama do so under the auspices of a church school, their right to direct the upbringing and education of their children will be further strengthened by this amendment.

    At one time Alabama claimed to have the “largest representation in Congress.” Senator Dixon H. Lewis of Montgomery weighed 500 pounds, and his Senate seat had to be specially made.