William Estrada is the director of federal regulations for the Home School Legal Defense Association where he advocates for all home school families before Congress, the White House and federal departments. He has testified before Congress and has served on a negotiated rule-making committee for the U.S. Department of Education. William served on the transition team for Donald Trump, helping to advise the Trump-Pence campaign on education policy issues that affect home school freedom. He’s also the director of federal relations for ParentalRights.org and as of January of this year serves as its secretary. William is a member of the U.S. Supreme Court bar and the California bar. He himself is a home school graduate.
According to William, the U.S. Supreme Court has protected parental rights for many years. For example, there was the 1925 case of Pierce v. the Society of Sisters. The court has always said that parental rights are a fundamental right and this concept is enshrined in our constitution.
Then in the year of 2000, there was a change. At that time there was a difficult case dealing with grandparent visitation before the Supreme Court known as Troxel v. Granville. In the end, the majority of judges no longer found that there’s a fundamental right of parents to make decisions regarding the raising of their children. That was the first time that the Supreme Court had moved in that direction. Since then we’ve seen lower court rulings that continue to undermine the traditional view that parental rights are fundamental.
A few years ago there was the case of Justina Pelletier n Massachusetts who was removed from the custody of her parents care and was removed from the care of her doctor as well. She was taken into state custody and was under such custody for several months before her parents finally won at the appeal level.
Then there was the recent case of Charlie Gard. UK courts said it didn’t matter if his parents had their own money to obtain an outside opinion. The courts stepped in, the government decided what was in Charlie’s best interest, and they felt it was in his best interest to die.
While parents maintain more parental rights in the U.S. than elsewhere, these cases show how we’re beginning to see the ‘handwriting on the wall’. As a result, Home School Legal Defense, ParentalRights.org and other organizations from across the political spectrum are doing the very difficult and needed task of amending the U.S. Constitution and place the 28th amendment, the Parental Rights Amendment. This is not about creating a new right, it’s about taking the implied rights that the Supreme Court has ruled on and put them expressly into the Constitution.
Just before the Senate adjourned for the August recess, Senators Lindsey Graham, Marco Rubio, Chuck Grassley, Roy Blunt, Johnny Isakson and Jim Risch jointly introduced this much needed amendment.
Jim had William comment on various sections of the amendment and the process the amendment must go through.
To comment on Senate Joint Resolution 48, call the Senate Switchboard at 202-224-3121.