By Doug Newman
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Slight rework of something I originally wrote on May 21, 2009. If you would like to post this elsewhere, please email me and include a link to this URL. Thanks!
You need to oppose the proposed Parental Rights Amendment (PRA) to the Constitution.
This Amendment is being promoted in response to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, a horribly anti-family treaty.
I oppose this Amendment for four reasons.
1) Parental rights are already covered by the Ninth Amendment to the Constitution — i.e. my favorite — which reads
“The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.”
2) The Tenth Amendment forbids Uncle Sam from intruding where not expressly authorized.
“The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”
3) Section 2 of the PRA reads
“Neither the United States nor any state shall infringe upon this right without demonstrating that its governmental interest as applied to the person is of the highest order and not otherwise served.”
This is like saying that “the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed … unless the federal government demonstrates that its governmental interest as applied to the person is of the highest order and not otherwise served.”
The PRA actually puts a constitutional blessing on federal intrusion into parenting.
4) Thoreau once remarked that “There are a thousand hacking at the branches of evil to one who is striking the root.” The PRA hacks at a branch of evil, i.e. the Convention on the Rights of the Child. The root of evil in this case is America’s very membership in the UN. America’s withdrawal from the UN — and kicking the UN off US soil — would rid America of a lot of problems.
Ron Paul once introduced the American Sovereignty Restoration Act, HR 1146, which would get the US out of the UN and vice versa. Read the actual text right here.
I was prompted to repost this when I read this damning analysis of the PRA. Take a few minutes and read it for yourself.
Never in history has a constitutional amendment conceded the government its own interest. Conceding this simply voids the amendment. What were they thinking???
Thanks, Doug! I’m writing a reply to Farris’ response to my above paper, and I will link to your May 2009 post – b/c you understood this 4 years ago.
The problem with the “Ninth and Tenth Amendments” defense is that they do not differentiate which powers are reserved to the states and which rights are reserved to the people. So when a state overrules individual liberties, federal courts are helpless to defend those individual rights unless that are written in the text of the Constitution. This is one reason that not one parental rights case to date has been argued or defended on the basis of the Ninth or Tenth Amendments. These are great Amendments, but they do not protect parents from an over-reaching state. The God-given, inalienable right of parents to direct their child’s upbringing remains unprotected.
As for your 3rd point, would it also be like saying that “only those interests of the highest order and those not otherwise served can overbalance legitimate claims to the free exercise of religion” protected by the First Amendment? I think you would agree that it would be the same. And this is exactly the standard of those fundamental rights – First Amendment, Second Amendment, or any other – in courts today. The above quote comes from Wisconsin v Yoder, 406 U.S. 205, 214 (1972). This is the Court’s language for the high level of legal protection that must be accorded any fundamental right – including your right to bear arms. This is not the blank check you imagine it to be; it is the highest possible level of legal protection. The government can limit even your freedom of speech if it meets this high standard, such as if you are found guilty of slander.
Your final point essentially seems to say that you oppose the efforts of those promoting the PRA because it doesn’t do enough. But do you really think we can take back in one shot what has been stolen from us incrementally over the course of two centuries? Can’t we recognize a good effort being made and support it for its merits instead of attacking it because we want to see more?
I believe in and work for ParentalRights.org, and we support the Parental Rights Amendment. I thank you for your discussion, but I respectfully disagree with your conclusions. Thank you, though, for standing for freedom. In that we are kindred spirits. — Michael Ramey