Family Law Prof Blog

Editor: Margaret Ryznare
Indiana University
Robert H. McKinney School of Law

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Thursday, August 7, 2008

Case Law Development: Parental Rights trump student First Amendment rights

The Eleventh Circuit has upheld Florida's statute allowing a student to be excused from reciting the Pledge of Allegiance ONLY with a "written request" from the student's parent.  In Frazier v. Winn, the three judge panel reversed the district judge who had held the statute unconstitutional under the classic First Amendment case of West Virginia State Board of Education v. Barnette (1943).  The Eleventh Circuit stated:

"We see the statute before us now as largely a parental-rights statute.  As such, this case is different from Barnette. . . . The state, in restricting the student's freedom of speech, advances the protection of the constitutional rights of parents."

That the statute applied to all students - - - from kindergarten to the last year of high school - - - did not seem to trouble the court.

Frazier v. Winn, (11th Cir. July 28, 2008)
Read the opinion online (last visited August 7, 2008)(RR)

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