Eric Holder: Banning Homeschooling Doesn’t Violate Fundamental Rights

eric-holderI read an article written by Michael Farris, the founder and chair of HSLDA – the Home School Legal Defense Association.  In it he discussed the case made by government lawyers representing Attorney General Eric Holder during the court hearing for the Romeike family.  You may remember the Romeike’s sought political asylum in the United States due to Germany’s persecution of homeschooling families.  A federal district court judge granted the Romikes asylum here against the wishes of the Federal government.  The government appealed that decision to the Board of Immigration appeals and won.  HSLDA appealed to the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals where the case (Romeike v. Holder) will be heard.

Farris outlined three arguments made by the U.S. Department of Justice lawyers which should be of concern to American homeschooling families:

He said the first argument in essence is that a government isn’t violating anyone’s rights if homeschooling is banned altogether.

First, they argued that there was no violation of anyone’s protected rights in a law that entirely bans homeschooling. There would only be a problem if Germany banned homeschooling for some but permitted it for others.

Now in reality, Germany does permit some people to homeschool, but it is rare and in general Germany does ban homeschooling broadly—although not completely. (Germany allows exemptions from compulsory attendance for Gypsies and those whose jobs require constant travel. Those who want to stay at home and teach their own children are always denied.)…

…There are two major portions of constitutional rights of citizens—fundamental liberties and equal protection. The U.S. Attorney General has said this about homeschooling. There is no fundamental liberty to homeschool. So long as a government bans homeschooling broadly and equally, there is no violation of your rights. This is a view which gives some acknowledgement to the principle of equal protection but which entirely jettisons the concept of fundamental liberties.

Farris noted the DOJ’s 2nd argument was that the Romeikes failed to show there was discrimination based on religion since not all homeschooling families are Christian, and not every Christian believes they have to homeschool.

This argument demonstrates another form of dangerous “group think” by our own government. The central problem here is that the U.S. government does not understand that religious freedom is an individual right. One need not be a part of any church or other religious group to be able to make a religious freedom claim. Specifically, one doesn’t have to follow the dictates of a church to claim religious freedom—one should be able to follow the dictates of God Himself.

The United States Supreme Court has made it very clear in the past that religious freedom is an individual right. Yet our current government does not seem to understand this. They only think of us as members of groups and factions. It is an extreme form of identity politics that directly threatens any understanding of individual liberty.

A third argument that DOJ made was that the Romeikes did not meet the standard of being part of a social group with “immutable” characteristics that can’t change and should not be required to change.  They said the Romeikes could choose not to homeschool and send their children to public school and then teach from home since their children would have only been in school for 22-26 hours during the week.

There are two main problems with this argument. First, our government does not understand that families like the Romeikes have two goals when they chose homeschooling. There are things they want to teach and there are things they want to avoid their children being taught in the government schools.

Does anyone think that our government would say to Orthodox Jewish parents, we can force your children to eat pork products for 22-26 hours per week because the rest of the time you can feed them kosher food?

Freedom for the mind and spirit is as important as freedom for the body and spirit.

This argument necessarily means that the United States government believes that it would not violate your rights if our own government banned homeschooling entirely. After all, you could teach your children your own values after they have had 22-26 hours of public school indoctrination aimed at counteracting religious and philosophical views the government doesn’t like.

The second problem with this argument goes back to the definition of immutability. Immutable means a characteristic that cannot be changed or “should not be required” to be changed.

No one contends that homeschooling is a characteristic that cannot be changed. We simply contend that in a free nation it is a characteristic that should not be required to be changed.

Those of us who homeschool should be concerned because the Attorney General of the United States, Eric Holder, in the government’s arguments essentially said that he believes that a law that bans homeschooling would violate no fundamental liberties.

Photo by Ryan J. Reilly (CC by 3.0)

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  1. brianbrawdy says

    It would seem to me that the greatest lessons, the most fundamental lessons learned initiate with “home schooling.” It all begins there!

  2. says

    American schools used to teach that socialism (government ownership of
    the means of production) is inefficient, now drive the lesson home with the
    educator’s own socialist waste. But the worst lesson compulsory government
    schools teach at an early age is that it’s okay to rob at gun point from others
    to solve your problems.

    Taxing those without children, to pay for schools — from each according to their ability, to each according to their need — is American Communism. Then this brainwashed, bureaucratic, Big Brother premise permeates our society.

    If an individual or group is concerned about the poor obtaining an education,
    they can just pay for it. The fact that governments want to control everyone’s learning suggests a larger, ulterior program

  3. says

    If someone in the home gets certified as a teacher then why shouldn’t they be able to home that child? i think its because alot of homeschool when they take part in competitions they blow the public school kids out of the water and it make the public school teachers look really bad even though public school teachers have millions of dollars at their disposal.

  4. Cam says

    It is “government” thugs, filth and criminals such as the insane psychopath known as “Eric Holder” that should be banned from the face of the earth. Slime like this cesspool dwelling ball of bacteria is a cancer on the face of our country and sorely requires an immediate remedy of a strong rope and a sturdy tree. This cock roach is not only no longer in hiding but outwardly flaunts his hatred of all things traditionally American every second of every day. Like his Kenyan born usurping side-kick they will be our ball and chain until such time as the sleeping sheeple wake up, figure it out, grow a spin and hold such trash as they are fully accountable. Will that ever happen…I seriously doubt it as long as American Idol remains on TV and we keep lining our halls of government with “incumbent” bacteria that serves only to create more disease and solidify our stupidity.

  5. Tara says

    To whom does my child belong? When I give birth does my child automatically belong to the federal government? If they can tell me that I have no right to homeschool, do I then have the right to select the school my child attends? I am guessing they would say “no”. So then WHO chooses the education for my child? Frightening… Isn’t this how Hitler began to indoctrinate the youth leading up to the Holocaust?

  6. says

    Theresa Null via Rocky Mountain Black Conservatives
    Homeschooling is a great option when students are cursed at by teachers and staff; when students are physically abused by fellow students, teachers, or staff; when students are emotionally abused by the same; when the teachers themselves don’t know the subjects; when there are no “civilizing behaviors” taught by example and lecture; when drugs are bought & sold in the school bathrooms & in the schoolyard; when gangs are free to beat up whomsoever they will on campus AND ETC… Just one of these reasons are enough in my book. Worse yet, as public schools seek to defend their institution and public school employees their paychecks, they choose to attack charter, private, and homeschools INSTEAD of improving their customer service. Clean your own house Eric Holder!

  7. says

    I think it is a flaw in the education department that all children are not homeschooled. I believe the education department should just release approved curriculum that private industry converts into coursework. If a parent can’t stay home to homeschool their children, then pay for them to attend a co-op. Reduce property taxes, and streets won’t be so beat up all the time. Notice how much lower traffic is when school is out?

  8. BigDadNau says

    I am surprised no one has called you on this, but the DoJ opinion only applies to them GERMAN laws and right, not those of United States citizens. German citizens do not have constitutional rights under US law.

    The statements on the US constitutional rights are correct, but applying to this situation is a red herring.

    So be careful what you read into this.

    BTW, I am not a troll…we have home-schooled for the last 3 years.

  9. American for America says

    The issue here is not homeschooling, the issue is that these people want asylum because their country of origin has a ban on it. We should not be in the middle of that. They need to change their country issues, not just run away and expect us to foot the bill. just sayin

  10. Laurie Studer says

    I am no fan of this administration or our government. This is all about control. Education in this country is more about indoctrination than information and it is an enormous failure! Companies routinely have to set up some type of classes to help new employees read and do basic computation! The Navy has reported that many new recruits cannot read their basic safety instruction manuals! How these people can stand in front of the American people and say they care about our children and want to see “progress” is beyond me. They throw more money at the problem to no avail. Approximately $9,000.00 per student and we have kids getting through the system who cannot read!
    The NEA is not about to make this about the children. They are about money and backing the left. From their former General Counsel, . “It is not because we care about children; and it is not because we have a vision of a great public school for every child,” Chanin boasted. “The NEA and its affiliates are effective advocates because we have power.”
    We trail the world in math and science. We have removed God from pretty much every part of our society. This is the bitter fruit of a nation who has rejected the Lord and I’m afraid it’s only going to get worse. Homeschoolers are not the problem. How does it benefit society to have people “processed” through a system that is a dismal failure? We are preparing our children for life. They are respectful, knowledgeable, willing to serve, well read, and usually pretty independent. People who think for themselves and honor God above all else are a threat to those who want to control the masses. This really isn’t about homeschooling per say; it’s about control.

  11. gary albright says

    I think the long term goal of the government is to separate children from their parents and indoctrinate them into a PC, collectivist, anti-religion way of thinking.

  12. Rhonda Cirillo says

    I can tell you why the government would ban this. Because the Socialist have infiltrated our schools and they are molding our childrens minds to think like they do. We don’t want to present facts to people any longer and let them come to their own conclusions we have to cram opinion into their little mind so they grow up as liberals. If we lose the ability to teach out kids this is a huge loss for us. I want everyone to be presented with all the facts about every subject and let people decide for themselves how they feel about everything. If I had young children of school age I damn sure would be home schooling them or making sure they know history as accurately as we are able to teach it.