After almost two years in federal district court, six homeschool families are still facing challenges to their homeschool liberties in Pennsylvania. Today on Home School Heartbeat, hosts Michael Farris and Mike Smith conclude their series on the ongoing fight for religious freedom in America.
Mike, oral arguments for the Third Circuit Court of Appeals were held in Pennsylvania last month. What would a victory look like for Pennsylvania homeschoolers?
Well, there’s a lot of ways the federal court can go and get these families a victory. The most basic would be for them to rule that the family’s religious beliefs have been burdened by the statute. We’d have to go back down for full trial to see if the government’s interest in regulating homeschooling necessitated this kind of a law. And it’s our argument that Pennsylvania could have a law that’s like a lot of other states that’s clearly objective in character and satisfy its legitimate interest in literacy and self-sufficiency without demanding that the homeschooling families bow the knee to Caesar in this fashion. So they could be a lot more objective and a lot less restrictive and accomplish the same objective. It’s also possible that the Court of Appeals could remand the matter to the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania for an interpretation of their new religious freedom statute. That would be an important alternative as well. We believe that when the facts get to come out in full it will be shown, as always, in the litigation that we’ve been able to handle, that homeschool kids are achieving literacy and self-sufficiency in a way that doesn’t necessitate this kind of draconian regulation of homeschool activity.
Mike, thank you for joining us on the program this week. And until next time, I’m Mike Smith.