Thursday, August 4, 2022
Justice Alito followed the standard that Chief Justice William Rehnquist laid down in Washington v. Glucksberg (1997), which rejected a claim that the Constitution protects a right to physician-assisted suicide. Glucksberg held that the 14th Amendment’s Due Process Clause protects individual rights if and only if they are “deeply rooted in this nation’s history and tradition” and “implicit in the concept of ordered liberty.”
Unlike assisted suicide and abortion, parental rights fit squarely within the “deeply rooted” standard. The Supreme Court recognized that parents’ rights were constitutionally sacrosanct nearly a century ago, in Meyer v. Nebraska (1923) and Pierce v. Society of Sisters (1925). Both decisions were written by Justice James McReynolds, and both dealt with a vast intrusion of government power into traditionally private matters driven by the World War I-era push for a domestic monoculture to serve the nation’s wartime exigencies.