Saturday, May 17, 2014

Meyer v. Nebraska case brief summary

Meyer v. Nebraska
Plaintiff was a teacher convicted of teaching German to a child 10 years old who had not yet passed 8th grade (as necessary by statute to teach other than English)
Timing of case – anti-immigrant and anti-German backlash due to WWI
Had to be learning English first to become a good citizen
Who had an interest (not necessarily in the case)?
The parents, the child, the state
States interest – parens patriae and as the educator as future citizens
The court is completely silent on the child’s interest
This was the first time the court discussed any parental liberty right
Right to establish a home and bring up children
The right to control
14th amendment substantive due process (during Lochner era)
recognize a natural duty and right to educate children and control that education
This right represents a traditional “natural” family – the father has the power to control the household
Plato’s conception of state-raised children (what the court was afraid of)
Situation where people don’t know their own children!
FEAR OF COMMUNISM! Communal values and state being too controlling – court pushing back
Children as a property interest of the parents… if this is true then why is the interest grounded in the liberty clause rather than the property clause?
Giving people the liberty to use their property
Property right implies the right to control another human being, did not want to make the law too overbearing

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