Meyer v. Nebraska
SCOTUS - 1923
- NE statute states that no person may teach any subject to a person in any language other than English.
- Languages may be taught to children only after they reach the 8th grade.
- D taught German to a 10 year old child. D was convicted.
- NE Supreme Court affirmed conviction.
- SCOTUS reversed conviction, found law unconstitutional.
- Is control over the education of their children a fundamental right of parents?
- Parents have the fundamental right to control the upbringing, including the education, of their children.
- Liberty denotes not only freedom from bodily restraint but also the right…
- To contract
- To engage in any occupation of his choosing
- To acquire useful knowledge
- To marry
- To establish a home and bring up children
- To worship God according to the dictates of his own conscience
- This liberty may not be interfered with under the guise of protecting the public interest.
- It is the natural duty of the parent to give his children education suitable to their station in life, and nearly all states make education of children compulsory.
- Mere knowledge of the German language cannot reasonably be regarded as harmful. Before the War, it was looked upon as helpful and desirable.
- D had the right to teach, and the parents of the child had the right to engage him so to instruct their child. These actions are within the liberty of the DPC of the 14th Amendment.
- The right is clearly infringed upon.
- The state says their interest is to foster a homogenous people with American ideals prepared readily to understand current discussions of civic matters.
- The means adopted exceed the limitations upon the power of the state.
- Proficiency is a foreign language seldom comes to one not instructed at an early age, and experience shows that it is not injurious to the health, morals, or understanding of an ordinary child.
- Right of parents to control the upbringing of their children at issue.