A piece of advice to being involved in politics: learn to laugh at things, because you’ll lose your mind otherwise.
As a DC resident, a source of frequent comic relief the past few years has been Capitol Hill’s problem-solving technique known as “The Fence.” It’s a black, unscalable, topped-with-barbed-wire barricade, sometimes accompanied by National Guardsmen, that just keeps popping up around federal buildings. Some example scenarios: Truckers coming to town? Put up the fence! Grandmas planning a peaceful rally on the National Mall? Better put up those fences. If the politicians can’t figure out a solution to inflation soon, they’ll probably put up the fence to see if that helps.
The latest reason for The Fence? A Supreme Court Justice does his constitutional duty and writes a logical opinion. So, more fencing, this time around the Court!
Laughing aside though, what has been consuming the news cycle this past month is a very serious topic. A leaked Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) draft that shows that the justices may soon be overturning Roe v. Wade has upended the political order for the time being. While we at HSLDA Action don’t actively lobby on the issue, we fully support the protection of the unborn. And if the leaked opinion holds, it means the court is doing what it was historically meant to do—preventing the federal government from overstepping its bounds on important issues like this—which is good for homeschooling freedom and parental rights.
To give a very brief summary of the situation, in case you’ve missed it: the case before the court is Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization. Dobbs is challenging a Mississippi law that limits abortions after 15 weeks. Roe v. Wade, when decided in 1973, invalidated almost all state laws that restricted abortion because the Court claimed that abortion was a constitutional right. In Dobbs, Mississippi is asking that the Supreme Court overturn Roe and allow states to legislate on the abortion issue as they see fit.
In Roe, nine justices decided to answer a significant moral question for the entirety of the nation. But this not the historical role of the court. While it may be hard to believe from a modern perspective, the Founders imagined the judicial branch would be the least dangerous of the three branches of governments because, as Alexander Hamilton wrote, it held “neither sword nor purse strings.” The Founders created the Supreme Court to be a check on the legislative and executive branches; it was not designed to create rights, but to protect them.
One example important to homeschooling was the 1925 Pierce v. Society of Sisters case. In it, the Supreme Court struck down a law that would have required children to go to public schools, thereby both affirming and protecting parents’ constitutional freedom to direct their childrens’ education as they see fit. While states are allowed to regulate private education to certain varying degrees based on what is best for their residents, they cannot prevent families from choosing a public-school alternative, thanks to SCOTUS.
By overturning Roe, the Court will be acknowledging that it is our role, not theirs, to legislate on critical matters such as abortion. Just as it is our role—and not the government’s—to direct the education of our kids.
Of course, by leaving these decisions and responsibilities to the people, there is room for abuse. Families can choose not to educate their children or exercise their parental rights responsibly. The people in many states will likely vote to keep abortion legal, as The Fence and the constant presence of violent protestors suggests.
But there is also the possibility of the greatest outcome possible: families that provide the opportunity for their children to flourish and thrive, a collective people that choose to outlaw the murder of the most vulnerable. The freedom to choose good is far better than being forced to accept evil. That is part of the ethos our nation was founded on, and it’s a win to see the Supreme Court return to those roots.