Monday, July 17, 2006
The Right to Privacy: Liberalism's Double-Edged Sword (Part 2)
In a landmark case concerning the reach of public education in America, Supreme Court Justice James McReynolds famously declared that "the child is not the mere creature of the State; those who nurture him and direct his destiny have the right, coupled with the high duty, to recognize and prepare him for additional obligations."
One of the Supreme Court's most important roles in our constitutional system has always been to provide guidance and direction to inferior courts. Moreover, in light of such a clear pronouncement regarding parental rights, it is difficult to imagine how some of our state and circuit courts reach their judgments in this day and age. Anyone who has paid even cursory attention to the goings-on in our court system lately may well be forced to conclude that, contrary to Justice McReynold's sentiment, the child is the mere creature of the State.
About a year and half ago, the Washington State Supreme Court ruled that children have an expectation of privacy at home and that parents are not allowed to listen in on their phone conversations. The case involved a 17-year-old who told his 14-year-old girlfriend that he had mugged an old lady on the street and stole her purse. The girl's mother had been listening to the exchange on another phone line and promptly alerted the authorities to the crime................
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