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Constitutional amendment for homeschoolers?

Posted By Samuel Blumenfeld On 12/05/2006 @ 1:00 am In Commentary | Comments Disabled

Michael Farris, cofounder of the Home School Legal Defense Association and chancellor of Patrick Henry College has called for an amendment to the U. S. Constitution to protect the rights of parents to educate their children at home. This is an unalienable, God-given right that is not recognized under international law.

On Sept. 12, 2006, the European Court of Human Rights handed down a decision that affirmed the power of the German government to ban home education. Farris writes in the November-December 2006 Home School Court Report:

“We must recognize that this decision may have enormous implications for the American homeschooling movement as well. I have written prior articles on the threat of international law and the need to explicitly define and protect parental rights in the text of the United States Constitution.”

Farris fears that if the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child were ratified by the Senate or adopted by the federal courts as enforceable international law, American homeschooling could be banned in deference to state education favoring pluralism. Parents’ rights to control their children’s education was never written into our Constitution because the Founding Fathers recognized that it was the Bible that gave parents a God-given right to educate their children at home or in a private or government school. Farris writes:


While the decision noted that some nations in the European Union allow for homeschooling, and while Germany allows for private institutional education, the court made it clear that such allowances are a matter of legislative grace and not founded in principles of protected human rights. … The European court declared that the aim of their Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms includes “safeguarding pluralism in education which is essential for the preservation of the ‘democratic society.’ … In view of the power of the modern State, it is above all through State teaching that this aim must be realized. …”

Thus, Farris’ concern is quite justified. The liberal judges on the U.S. Supreme Court are relying more and more on international law for guidance in their judgments. In the Hamdan v. Rumsfeld case, the Court upheld the Geneva Conventions of 1949 as enforceable U.S. law.

Writing in the Jurist, law professor David Scheffer, commented: “The Supreme Court justices demonstrated how fundamental tenets of international law amplify American values and are deeply embedded in U.S. law. No other decision of the Supreme Court in recent years has so forthrightly reaffirmed American obligations under international law.”

That is why Farris believes that the rights of parents need the protection of the Constitution. Who would believe that Americans would still have the right to own and bear arms if that right weren’t protected by the Second Amendment of the Constitution?

One of the strongest advocates of the need to integrate international law with U.S. law is Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. In a lecture she gave in South Africa in February, Judge Ginsburg remarked:


Judges in the United States are free to consult all manner of commentary – restatements, treatises, what law professors or even law students write copiously in law reviews, for example. If we can consult those writings, why not the analysis of a question similar to the one we confront contained in an opinion of the Supreme Court of Canada, the Constitutional Court of South Africa, the German Constitutional Court or the European Court of Human Rights? … The notion that it is improper to look beyond the borders of the United States in grappling with hard questions … is in line with the view of the U.S. Constitution as a document essentially frozen in time as of the date of its ratification. I am not a partisan of that view. U.S. jurists honor the framers’ intent “to create a more perfect Union,” I believe, if they read the Constitution as belonging to a global 21st century, not as fixed forever by 18th-century understandings.

It is quite conceivable that the liberals will one day consider the U.S. Constitution as obsolete and in need of replacement by a radically revised Basic Law more in harmony with international law. Once one goes down the road as advocated by Justice Ginsburg, there is no way to know how far the liberals will take us from our traditional Bible-based fundamental law.

As then-Associate Justice Sandra Day O’Connor remarked at a lecture in October 2003: “There is talk today about the ‘internationalization of legal relations.’ We are already seeing this in American courts and should see it increasingly in the future. This does not mean, of course, that our courts can or should abandon their character as domestic institutions. But conclusions reached by other countries and by the international community, although not formally binding upon our decisions, should at times constitute persuasive authority in American courts – what is sometimes called ‘transjudicialism.’”

That is why appointments to the Supreme Court are so crucial to the survival of the United States as a sovereign nation. And if we are to protect parents’ rights, we should not delay in providing that protection under the U.S. Constitution.



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