Ron explains how the First Amendment protects your right to educate your child how you see fit in parent versus parent high conflict divorce child custody battles, and how the Fourteenth Amendment applies to the states, and why that's important to the protection of your parent-child association.
Important terms: Inculcate, Precept, Example, and Associate
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Want to read all the Truth Bombs:9 First Amendment Truth Bombs
Truth Bomb number 2 is, it is your right to educate your child is protected by the First
Amendment. Not someone else's right, you're right as a parent -- is tied to your parental rights.
You get to protect, you get to educate your children. Not the government, not the judge,
you. The Supreme Court has been very explicit in this regard,
and it's held specifically that -- the right to educate one's children as one
chooses is made applicable to the states by the force of the First and the Fourteenth Amendments.
And education is very simple. It is simply the expression and the reception of fact
and ideas. And what receives the most protection is your right to teach your child your personal
values. Those ideas that come to you as a matter of conscience. Ideas about religion, about life,
about our existence in the universe -- why we exist. All of these kind of questions,
deeply personal questions. It's your job to convey to your child your beliefs. Your
ex has the same right and the same duty. And then your child is to incorporate all of that into who
they are as they grow up and when they become an adult they get to decide for themselves
what their place in the universe is, and the foundation for that comes from the parents.
Not from a judge, not from the state, not from the government -- from two fit parents. If the
child has two fit parents, married or not, that child has a right to those two parents, and has
a right to learn equally from those two parents. No judge has a right to get in the way of this.
If you're fit, that judge has no authority to get in between. The First Amendment doesn't allow it.
They come up with all kind of excuses, but you need to know, Supreme Court says your right,
your individual right to educate your child is protected by the First Amendment. And you need
to stand up and present that to the Court and require the Court to treat your rights
with the respect they deserve. So essential to the First Amendment is both the right to speak
and the right to receive. The speaker has a right and the receiver has a right, both right
are protected by the First Amendment. Speaking and receiving go hand and hand. So inherent
in the intimate association between parent and child is the parent's duty to educate the child
in a manner which preferably makes them productive citizens. But at least to a
degree that keeps them from becoming a burden on others. Hold up, hold up,
you're state statutes however are making you believe that the judge gets to override
your values, morals, and teachings. And when he does that he violates your right to be who you
choose to be and to share that with your child, and to develop your child in the ways that you
decide are right for your child. And the attorney just says the attorney has a right to do this
because the statute says he does. And sometimes your rights are expressed in the form of duties
and responsibilities. Ron's going to explain. The Supreme Court has expressed
this duty in the following manner. The duty to prepare the child for additional obligations
must be read to include the inculcation of moral standards, religious beliefs and
elements of good citizenship. This affirmative process of teaching, guiding, and inspiring by
precept and example is essential to the growth of young people to mature, socially responsible
citizens. That's the Supreme Court's words, word for word. That matters. Okay? The Supreme
Court says it, no state judge can overrule it or say it doesn't matter. We need to put it before
these judges and demand that they respect it to the level that the Supreme Court requires. Now,
in that statement, the words precept and example are critical elements of the holding.
The word precept simply means "by guiding rule." You're teaching your children guiding rules for
life. Precepts. What's more interesting than precept in the child custody context,
is the example part of the statement. So how exactly does a parent teach their child
by example if the state custody judge doesn't let them have any time with their child? Or gives them
only a certain kind of time. Any limitation on your time directly affects your child and what
they can receive. It limits your ability to comply with your duty to educate your child.
So, unless there's a way to teach by example without associating with the person you are
teaching, this reference to example by the Court means you're right to associate with your
child for the purpose of educating them by example is protected by the First Amendment.
Children learn by watching what we do. They are always watching. Even when you think they are
not watching, they are watching, and they are learning. They are seeing what you do and how
you respond in all kinds of situations. From the most mundane boring situations in life
to the most important. They are always watching and they are always learning.
And they take this to heart even if they don't consciously recognize it. They take it to heart
and they will remember these things for the rest of their lives. And they will apply these things
they learn in their adult lives in ways they won't even recognize. Nevertheless, they are there and
you are building this foundation. So in another case, the Supreme Court explained the reason the
First Amendment protects intimate associations, is because it is through these bonds of affection we
transmit shared ideals and beliefs from generation to generation. The Court stated it this way, "The
Court has long recognized that because the Bill of Rights is designed to secure individual liberty,
it must afford the formation and preservation of certain kinds of highly personal relationships
a substantial measure of sanctuary from unjustified interference by the state. We have
noted that certain kinds of personal bonds have played a critical role in culture and traditions
of the nation. By cultivating and transmitting shared ideals and beliefs, they thereby foster
diversity and act as critical buffers between the individual and the power of the state."
This is not the first time the Court had something to say about the role of intimate family
associations in sharing values across generations. Some years earlier, the Court stated it this way,
"Our decisions establish that the constitution protects the sanctity of the family precisely
because the institution of the family is deeply rooted in this nation's history and tradition.
It is through the family that we inculcate and pass down many of our most cherished values,
moral and cultural. Ours is by no means limited to the tradition of the respect on uniting the
members of a nuclear family." So, here they are saying that this is core to our nations
history and tradition, the respect that we give families -- parent-child associations.
And the Court is also saying it is not limited to the nuclear family. The Court protects
association pairs. The smallest nuclear family in existence is actually a collection of three
protected family units. There is the marital association between husband and wife. That
is a protected family unit whether or not they have children. When they have a child, they add
two more distinctly protected associations. On top of the marital association between the mother
and the father, they now have a parent-child association between the mother and the child
and a parent-child association between the father and the child. These three individually separately
protected family units combined establish the nuclear family. And it is only through these
individual associations that the nuclear family can receive any kind of constitutional protection.
And that's because our constitution protects individual rights. Not group rights. Not
large membership rights. Even when you're talking about your right to associate with a,
a political party with numbers in the millions, it's not the group that receives protection,
it's each individual in the group that receives the protection.
Now it may be worded in terms of group to make it easier to understand. But when you get down to
nuts and tacks, it is each individual association that gets the protection. So, the smallest,
when we talk about equal protection of large groups, what we're really talking about is each
individual. It may be a member of a particular group, has a right to be treated the same.
So the smallest group the equal protection clause protects is the individual. It always protects the
individual. Some years later, the Supreme Court had some more to say about association rights of
natural parents and their children. And the Court said it this way, "Choices about marriage, family
life, and the upbringing of children, are among the associational rights this Court has ranked
as a basic importance in our society. Rights sheltered by the Fourteenth Amendment against
the state's unwarranted usurpation disregard or disrespect a parent's desire for and right to
the companionship, care, custody, and management of his or her children is an important interest.
One that undeniably warrants deference. And absent a powerful, countervailing interest, protection.
The interest of parents and their relationship with their children is sufficiently fundamental
to come within the finite class of liberty interests protected by the Fourteenth Amendment.
So, here, the reference to the Fourteenth Amendment is not a denial that the protected
rights are protected by the First Amendment, but instead is a statement that the First Amendment
protected rights are protected from the action of states because it is the Fourteenth Amendment
which applies constitutional limitations to the states.
Before the Fourteenth Amendment, the federal constitution simply didn't limit the states.
The Fourteenth Amendment was put in place to compel the states to comply
with our federal constitution. So, in the 50s, 60s, and 70s, when the black civil rights movement
was really changing our nation, they faced two significant problems:
One was black people in general didn't really believe they had rights they could fight for;
and, two, there weren't any significant number of court opinions or case law that would support
the idea that black people had rights. So they had to do two things. First, people
like Martin Luther King, Jr. and churches, black churches all over the country started talking to
black people and telling them they had rights, and teaching them they had rights, and getting them
willing to fight for their rights. And then people like Thurgood Marshall,
who was a civil rights attorney, and who later became a Supreme Court justice -- the first black
Supreme Court justice we've ever had. He was fighting the legal battles, and he was winning
small case after small case in the appellate courts. So, when he finally did get to the Supreme
Court, on the big civil rights question for black people, he was able to win because he had that
wide support of underlying small case law that all led up to that big win in the courts.
And that's what we need to do in family rights and parental rights. We need to convince more
parents that they should stand up and fight for their rights in the courts. And we need to get a
lot of these small wins in the appellate courts that support the fact that we have civil rights
that deserve to be protected. And then we need to push it all the way to the Supreme Court,
if necessary, to get that sea change and understanding in our nation that says parents
have rights, they're individual rights, they don't depend on marriage, and the courts cannot
deprive them of their rights simply because they get divorced or choose never to marry.
For a loving parent, a child custody suit can be a time of terror. The most important thing in your life is at stake and it doesn't take long to figure out that the system is rigged against you. This book provides simple straight forward and easy to understand ways to help ensure that your rights get protected. This is the starter guide for you to protect your rights.