Parental Rights to Return to Supreme Court?
-- July 1, 2015
It’s a dilemma faced by too many already: What do you do when a social worker and a deputy stand at your door and tell you, “Let us in to look around, or we will remove your child(ren)?” According to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, the ultimatum does not constitute coercion. If you let them in your house, you have done so willingly and waived your Fourth Amendment rights in the process.
The Supreme Court of Illinois, which in the 1970’s declared that “the termination of parental rights is the ‘death sentence’ of the family courts,” might strongly disagree. So do our allies at the Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA), which is why they are appealing the ruling to the United States Supreme Court.
The Supreme Court reviews hundreds of cases every year for appeal and only selects to hear a few of those, so there is no guarantee that Loudermilk v. Arpaio will be heard. HSLDA, however, filed a petition for writ of certiorari last week seeking the Court’s attention.
“The Loudermilk case is key because the Supreme Court has never ruled that state social services employees cannot use a threat to remove children to coerce entry,” HSLDA said in a statement. But such a threat seems to be a standard technique used to separate scared and confused parents from their children without a warrant or imminent danger.
The case began in 2006 with an anonymous tip to Arizona Social Services. Two months after the call came in, a social services worker and several deputies arrived at the home of John and Tiffany Loudermilk, where the social services worker issued the ultimatum.
While it is hard to reconcile that two month delay to any claim of imminent danger to the children, nevertheless the social services worker began writing up the paper work while the Loudermilks wrestled with their decision. Finally, afraid of the trauma that removal would cause to their children, John and Tiffany permitted the search.
Deputies and the social worker conducted their search, found that the anonymous tip had been unwarranted, and left the home.
Traumatized by their experience, the Loudermilks chose to sue in order to stop the injustice from happening to so many others. When the trial court agreed that the case against the social services worker and the deputies could go to trial, the deputies appealed to the U.S. Ninth Circuit, who granted them immunity.
You read that right: immunity for the people who invaded the Loudermilk’s home without warrant or imminent threat, yet under color of law.
HSLDA is dedicated to seeing the decision overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court if possible, to protect the Fourth Amendment rights of all parents.
What Can We Do?
The fledgling Parental Rights Foundation is working toward being able to take up cases like these to further your parental rights. You can make a tax-deductible donation to the Foundation here.
Of course, HSLDA is already working on such cases when they involve home schooling or often a home schooling family. You can visit their page on this case (and donate to them if you wish) through this link.
Last week we challenged you to help us reach 70,000 Facebook page likes in response to the email. On the day the email went out we added 649 new followers, and a total of over 1,000 through Monday – meaning we reached our goal with 70,249! Thank you and congratulations on this excellent work!
Now we’d like to ask you to keep it up. Please continue to share our page with a few key Facebook friends and encourage them to follow us for updates on your parental rights issues.
Also, please remember that July 20-26 is National Parental Rights Week. Continue to work out your family’s plan to secure at least one petition sheet – 16 signatures – in support of the Parental Rights Amendment. You can print out the petition sheet here.
Thank you for standing with us in all these many ways as we work to protect our children and families by adopting the Parental Rights Amendment.
And Happy Independence Day from all of us at ParentalRights.org!
Director of Communications & Research
Director of Communications & Research
P.O. Box 1090 Purcellville, VA 20134 * (540)-751-1200 * firstname.lastname@example.org