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3/8/2007 1:42:24 PM
Home School Legal Defense Association
New Jersey--Fox News Airs New Jersey Judge's Homeschool Commentary

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From the HSLDA E-lert Service...
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New Jersey--Fox News Airs New Jersey Judge's Homeschool Commentary

Dear HSLDA members and friends:

This morning at about 10 o'clock, Fox News broadcast a story about a
family court judge in New Jersey who said he was "shocked" that
homeschool families were not being "monitored," and said they should
be. The anchorwoman and her guests gave the impression that the
judge's opinion actually changed the law, and that now families would
need to be monitored.

In fact, the judge did not change the law. Nothing has changed.

In order to protect individual freedoms, the founders of our nation
wanted to be sure that governmental power did not become overly
concentrated. To prevent this, they wisely split power into three
branches--legislative, judicial and executive. As the founders
conceived it, the judicial branch has no power to make new laws. That
power belongs to the legislature working through representatives
elected by the people.

Even though the judge in this case said the homeschool laws of New
Jersey should be different, it is not up to him to decide. The state
of New Jersey already has laws on the books related to homeschooling,
and this will only change if the people, through their elected
representatives, enact a change.

Furthermore, the judge's comments were "dicta"--legalese that means
other judges are perfectly free to ignore the comments. Nothing the
judge said in his written opinion is binding on any other judge or any
other family.

The Fox News story overlooked one more important point. The judge
allowed the mother to keep homeschooling--without being monitored.
Even though the father had asked the judge to prohibit the mother from
continuing the homeschool program, the judge's final order simply
urged the parents to work out the issue among themselves, with
recommendations of steps they should take to make sure the homeschool
laws already on the books were obeyed.

We don't expect a judge from one state to be familiar with the laws of
other states. However, the judge might not have been shocked if he
had been aware of the fact that New Jersey's homeschool law is similar
to that of many other states.

Sincerely Yours,

Scott A. Woodruff
HSLDA Staff Attorney

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