oral argument notes

Your honors, may it please the court.  I am Travis Wise, counsel for the Appellees on the issue of the Fourteenth Amendment.  My co-counsel Takashi H. will address the First Amendment Issue.
The parental interest in raising and educating their child should be a fundamental right and given the protection of the strict scrutiny test because of a history and tradition of allowing parents to raise their children free from state intervention. 
The program in this case is not narrowly construed to serve a compelling state interest, and should not be permitted to continue.

Fundamental: The parents’ liberty interest in raising and educating their children is fundamental because it is implicit in the liberty this nation was built upon (Palko v. Connecticut) and deeply rooted in this nation’s history and tradition (Moore v. City of Cleveland). 
It was parents who raised and educated their children prior to public schools, and just because our lifestyles have necessitated public schools, parents should not be forced to turn over this right to the state.
The Supreme Court has repeatedly recognized the liberty of parents as a fundamental right, in Meyer, Pierce and Yoder.  The cases which are on-point and used a rational basis test were from lower courts, and misinterpreted the Supreme
Court’s prior decisions which were made prior to the establishment of strict scrutiny.  The language in Meyer, Pierce and Yoder strongly suggests strict scrutiny evaluation, not rational basis.
Strict Scrutiny:  As a fundamental liberty, the strict scrutiny test should be used to evaluate the program. 
Slippery Slope counterargument:  Finding this to be a fundamental liberty interest and applying the strict scrutiny test would not create the slippery slope problem the court feared in Brown v. Hot, Sexy and Safer Productions. The Brown court was concerned about parents dictating the curriculum at their chosen public school. 
Contrary to opposing counsel’s belief, this issue does not involve curriculum.  This program takes place outside of school, not during school hours, and not under the supervision of any school personnel or teachers.  There is no feedback given to the students regarding their performance in the program.
Parents are best suited to raise their children, and that interest should be protected against coersive and burdensome programs such as this one.
Death of the program:  Because it lacks an opt-out provision or feasable alternatives, this  mandatory extracurricular program causes coersion and financial hardship, and does not survive the strict scrutiny test.  120 hours of forced after-school work is hardly volunteering.  With 15% of the families living below the poverty line, an many need to work to support their families.  The program cuts into that time.
The only alternatives to the program are home schooling or private schools, both of which are unavailable to these parents due to their costs, or a GED.  A GED is inferior to a diploma, and students with a GED will be uncompetitive for higher education and jobs. The lack of an opt-out provision and lack of reasonable alternatives show that the program is not narrowly tailored. 

Rational Basis: Educating children is reasonably related to a legitimate government objective, but a mandatory program involving 120 hours of extracurricular work is not.  Cases which have held that mandatory service programs are reasonably related involved less than half the number of hours as in this case.  The 120 hour requirement unreasonably burdens parents and creates a coersive hardship. Only 6% complied with the program.
Conclusion: The parental liberty interest in raising and educating their children is a fundamental right, and consistent with the Supreme Court’s prior opinions, this court should apply the strict scrutiny test to this program. 
The coercive nature of this program impermissibly interfears with the ability of parents to raise their children, and this infringement on a fundamental liberty interest should be proscribed by this court.

Popular posts from this blog

power elite vs pluralist explanation models

big 4 vs. law firm comparison from an industry perspective

california bar exam primer