Parental Rights Talking Points and Targeted Questions for Legislators

Many people don’t realize it today but the American Civil Rights Movement of the 1970s was a very diverse effort with many wildly divergent factions vying for the public’s attention. Nowhere is this divide more dramatic than when one compares Malcolm X with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Today, we look back on the Lunch Counter Sit Ins as a defining moment in our history and we tie those nationally televised events with nationally televised events of Dr. King. Few people realize that Dr. King attempted to talk the lunch counter kids out of doing the sit ins. The lunch counter movement was driven by teenagers who were willing to take great personal risks including to their personal physical safety. Dr. King didn’t want them to take those personal risks.

As teenagers generally do, those teenagers did what they wanted to do in the first place regardless of how many others tried to talk them out of it. Those teenagers undeniably changed our world for the better and Dr. King did not hesitate to capitalize on the effect those teenagers had to drive home political change through his connections with political power brokers such as then President Johnson.

What is less clear in the public perception but was absolutely critical in this movement were the actions of Thurgood Marshall who later became our first Black Supreme Court Justice. As an attorney Thurgood Marshall was conducting a legal campaign of small precise legal wins which all ultimately combined together to propel him to the Supreme Court where he argued the case that the doctrine of separate but equal schools for black people was a lie and Thurgood Marshall prevailed. This win led to radical transformations of our public schools which has undeniably radically altered the perceptions of younger generations regarding race.

Even though Dr. King’s tragic death made him the public face of this national movement, it was NOT Dr. King’s strategies alone that created the change. It was the entire divergent movement as a whole that ultimately forced our country to change for the better.

We see the parental rights movement as being little different. There are many different groups all vying for recognition in the fight for parental rights. No one group is going to solve the problem alone. Our focus is primarily on the courts and compelling the courts to apply the law properly but the courts need to also feel that legislators are being pressured to correct their mistakes too. The courts need to see that the people are changing their minds and changing their language when discussing divorce and child custody issues.

To this end, we seek to provide activists of all types the most powerful tool of all, words. On this page you will find political talking points and targeted questions you can direct to your legislators that are designed to have powerful effect and demonstrate to them that the law is NOT on their side, just as the law wasn’t on the side of the racial bigots of the 1970s. We urge you to use these talking points and targeted questions when you speak with those in power. Their legal underpinnings will give your words a strength that emotion alone will not have.

 

 

Parental Rights Talking Points

Last Updated 06/10/2022

  1. A parent’s rights to their child is an “individual” right that does NOT come from marriage and therefore can NOT be lawfully taken away in a divorce.
  2. A judge’s opinion of a child’s best interest is a personal viewpoint used to impose prior restraints on the First Amendment rights of the parents and of the child.
  3. Every single time that a judge deprives a parent of rights through a best interest of the child determination, that judge violates the rights of the child.
  4. Every child in every child custody suit suffers injury when a judge determines custody by reference to the court’s viewpoint of the child’s best interest.
  5. Punishing children for the sins of their parents was deemed unconstitutional when the Supreme Court overturned the bastardy laws. Today there is only one place where those bastardy laws remain in full force and effect, that is the divorce and child custody courtroom where state judges actively promote punishing children for the perceived sins of their parents.
  6. The right to make marital choices is a constitutionally protected right. The choice to divorce is a marital choice that is constitutionally protected. However, divorce court judges routinely punish parents of minor children and the minor children themselves for no reason other than that the parents made a lawful and constitutionally protected choice regarding marriage that the State doesn’t like. The message is clear, you have every right to make the choice, but if the state disfavors that choice, you will be punished and your child will be punished.
  7. Stop telling us we don’t care about our child’s best interest. We care very much about our child’s best interest. The core issue is who decides what that best interest is? We assert that the government has no lawful authority to make that determination because what is “best” for a child is a matter of conscience in child-rearing NOT a judicial fact.
  8. The divorce and family law courts are conducting a radical national social experiment on our children and the results are dramatic. Fatherless children are committing brutal violence on a scale our society has never seen before. Teenage school shooters are far more likely to come from a fatherless home where the father is absent only because a judge forced him to be absent. These mass shootings in this country are caused by divorce court judge and their massive failed social experiment of depriving children of fathers wholesale.
  9. Discriminating against parents who divorce is discrimination based upon marital status?

 

Parental Rights Questions for Legislators

Last Updated 06/10/2022

  1. Did the legislature intend to convey to judges the power to violate the constitutional rights of parents and of children based on nothing more than the opinion (viewpoint) of a sole government official regarding what he or she feels is “best” in matters of conscience regarding child-rearing?
  2. Is it the State Legislature’s position that the State’s Family Code operates in isolation from federal constitutional protections and that divorce and child custody judges are not limited by the Fourteenth Amendment?
  3. Could a family law judge order sole possession of a child to a white parent and deny all rights to a black parent because the judge views it in the child’s best interests to grow up “white”? Why not? What prevents it?
  4. Is the State’s family code based on the 21st Century realization that parental rights are “individual” rights of intimate and expressive close family association or is the State’s family code based upon overturned Nineteenth Century notions of marriage being the only source of parental rights and that bastardy laws are legitimate.
  5. The Supreme Court holds that association rights such as the rights of parent and child in the parent-child relationship are “individual” rights requiring that association rights be judged in pairs, why does the State’s family code fail to protect these individual rights of parent-child association?
    1. How can the family code legally hold that dissolution of one protected associational pair automatically destroys a separate associational pair?
  6. If parental rights are “individual” rights as the Supreme Court holds, how can the family code take away these rights simply because the parents choose to divorce or to never marry?
  7. What is the legal connection that permits the family code to punish parents with loss of parental rights simply because they exercised their constitutional right to make choices regarding marriage?
    1. Is the State permitted to punish a parent’s choice to divorce?
    2. Is the parent’s choice to divorce protected in this State?
    3. Are parents who choose to divorce deserving of the same constitutional protections every other civil litigant receives?
  8. Every legislatively enacted state policy must be regulated and enforced by some government entity, and everyone subject to that regulation and enforcement is entitled to challenge the policy, the regulation, and the enforcement before a neutral and independent court, so who regulates and enforces divorce and child custody law and where is the neutral and independent court in which parents may challenge the State’s regulation and enforcement?
    1. Where a statute serves to limit a fundamental right a government official must demonstrate that the statute can survive constitutional scrutiny before a neutral and unbiased court, which executive official is delegated authority to meet the State’s burden of proof regarding limitations on fundamental rights resulting from regulation of the State’s best interests of the child public policy?
    2. If the courts are regulating and enforcing the State’s divorce and child custody policies, where do the regulated individuals go to challenge the State’s regulation and enforcement in violation of fundamental rights and receive a fair trial?
    3. When state judges are delegated regulatory and enforcement authority, the federal courts will NOT permit constitutional challenges against the judge’s regulatory and enforcement actions in a 42 U. S. C. 1983 civil rights action. Is it the Legislature’s intent to actively prevent challenges to the State’s family code in federal court by delegating regulatory and enforcement authority to state judges?
  9. How many state courts and state judges exist only because of the caseload caused by the State’s best interests of the child public policy interests?
    1. If judges realize that overturning the State’s best interest of the child public policy on constitutional grounds would dramatically reduce the number of contested child custody proceedings and that their courts and their jobs would be at risk because of such a holding, how likely are those judges to make a fair holding on this issue?
    2. Is it the Legislature’s intention to protect the State’s best interests of the child public policy from legitimate constitutional review in state courts by creating a pecuniary interest for judges that depends upon the State’s policy surviving all constitutional scrutiny attacks? In other words, judges have powerful jobs and get paychecks because the policy exists so how likely are they to declare the policy unconstitutional and why should anyone believe that the system isn’t set up that way intentionally with evil intent?
    3. How much Title IV-D money is funneled directly or indirectly to the courts or through the courts establishing a pecuniary interest for judges in the state continuing to receiving these payments?
    4. How likely is it that a state judge would hold his unbridled discretion to award child support for any reason he chooses unconstitutional when that award is the basis for Title IV-D Payments that the state court has a pecuniary interest in continuing to receive?
  10. When a state court judge grants one parent more time and authority over a child by reducing the time and authority of the other parent that judge unquestionably enhances the speech and authority of that speech for one parent while reducing the speech and authority of that speech for the other parent. This unquestionably qualifies as censorship under Supreme Court precedent. Is it the Legislature’s intent to establish a censorship scheme that likely alters a child’s future in a way the State prefers?
    1. How does the State’s family code protect against the very real evils of censorship which the Supreme Court requires as a prerequisite for establishing a censorship scheme?
  11. Where the State’s preferred or default parenting plan directly results in limitations on the times, the places, and the manner in which a parent and a child may speak with one another, may associate with one another, may worship together with one another as a family, and may share family privacy with one another, is the State’s parenting plan NOT a prior restraint on intimate and expressive close family speech, association, worship, and family privacy?
  12. Do you support punishing divorce?
    1. Do you support the State’s family code that punishes divorce?

Conclusion: Parental Rights Talking Points

You still need to pack your pleas with heartfelt emotion because emotional appeals are often effective. Under that emotion however, make sure you have constitutional bedrock supporting your requests for change. This conveys to knowledgable legislators 1) that you know how to force the changes in the courts 2) that you and others know how to embarrass the legislator publicly and 3) your legislature better get out in front of this and be prepared to speak on these topics. One of the goals has to be to get polticians and pundits talking about these issues publicly. 

As an activist your job is to convey to politicians that change is coming one way or another and if they want to survive, they best get on the right side of the change fast. All of us working together will create conditions where the change will become inevitable. If it comes from the courts, from a constitutional amendment, from legislation or from some combination thereof is not the point. All of these activities create pressure for change and we want to put the politicians and the judges under pressure.