Troxel v. Granville
In Troxel v. Granville, 530 U.S. 57 (2000), seven Justices of the U.S. Supreme Court recognized a constitutional right of fit parents to direct the upbringing of their own children.
The facts of the case concerned review of a decision by the Washington Supreme Court concerning a demand by grandparents to have visitation rights of their grandchildren over the objection of the children's mother. The Washington Supreme Court reversed a trial court's decision granting visitation rights to the grandparents, and the U.S. Supreme Court affirmed in a badly splintered decision with these unusual alignments:
- plurality decision by Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, joined by Chief Justice William Rehnquist and Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen Breyer
- concurrence by Justice David Souter
- concurrence by Justice Clarence Thomas
- dissent by Justice John Paul Stevens
- dissent by Justice Antonin Scalia
- dissent by Justice Anthony Kennedy
Only Justices Stevens and Scalia disagreed with the claim of a constitutional right by parents to direct the upbringing of their children. Scalia wrote:
- "In my view, a right of parents to direct the upbringing of their children is among the "unalienable Rights" with which the Declaration of Independence proclaims "all Men ... are endowed by their Creator." And in my view that right is also among the "othe[r] [rights] retained by the people" which the Ninth Amendment says the Constitution’s enumeration of rights "shall not be construed to deny or disparage."