This page contains Supreme Court rulings -- with summaries of the majority and minority conclusions.
on Jan 12, 2000
Decided Jun 5, 2000
Case Ruling: TROXEL v. GRANVILLE
Washington law permits “any person” to petition for visitation rights “at any time” and authorizes state superior courts to grant such rights whenever visitation may serve a child’s best interest. Petitioners Troxel petitioned for the right to visit their deceased son’s daughters. Respondent Granville, the girls’ mother, did not oppose all visitation, but objected to the amount sought by the Troxels.
(O’Connor, joined by Rehnquist, Ginsburg, and Breyer; Souter and Thomas concurring) Washington’s breathtakingly broad statute, as applied to Granville and her family, violates her due process right to make decisions concerning the care, custody, and control of her daughters. Because we rest our decision on the sweeping breadth of the Washington law, we do not consider the primary constitutional question. We do not, and need not, define today the precise scope of the parental due process right in the visitation context.
The Washington law merely gives an individual--with whom a child may have an established relationship--the procedural right to ask the State to act as arbiter, through the entirely well-known best-interests standard, between the parent’s protected interests and the child’s. Accordingly, I respectfully dissent.
In my view, it would be more appropriate to conclude that the constitutionality of the application of the best interests standard depends on more specific factors. In short, a fit parent’s right vis-à-vis a complete stranger is one thing; her right vis-à-vis another parent or a de facto parent may be another. In my view the judgment under review should be vacated and the case remanded for further proceedings.
In my view, a right of parents to direct the upbringing of their children is among the “unalienable Rights” in the Declaration of Independence.
- Topic: Families & Children
- Headline: Grandparents get no visitation rights unless parents agree
- Headline 2: Balance visitation rights between parent & child interests
- Headline 3: Child upbringing is an unalienable right
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participating in 99-138
Total recorded by OnTheIssues: