Lehr v. Robertson, 463 US 248, 257-258 (1983)
the Court has found that the relationship of love and duty in a recognized family unit is an interest in liberty entitled to Constitutional protection … “State intervention to terminate such a relationship … must be accomplished by procedures meeting the requisites of the Due Process Clause” Santosky v. Kramer … [emphasis supplied]
It is clear by the above case that parental rights are to be treated as fundamental and cannot be taken away without meeting the constitutional requirement of due process.
The Court has recognized that the freedom to enter into and carry on certain intimate or private relationships is a fundamental element of liberty protected by the Bill of Rights … the intimate relationships to which we have accorded Constitutional protection include marriage … the begetting and bearing of children, child rearing and education. Pierce v. Society of Sisters … [emphasis supplied]
Michael H. v. Gerald, 491 U.S. 110 (1989)
In a paternity suit, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled: It is an established part of our constitution jurisprudence that the term liberty in the Due Process Clause extends beyond freedom from physical restraint. See, e.g. Pierce v. Society of Sisters … Meyer v. Nebraska ..
The Court in Smith quoted its previous case of Wisconsin v. Yoder:
Yoder said that “The Court’s holding in Pierce stands as a charter for the rights of parents to direct the religious upbringing of their children. And when the interests of parenthood are combined with a free exercise claim … more than merely a reasonable relationship to some purpose within the competency of the State is required to sustain the validity of the State’s requirement under the First Amendment.” 406 U.S., at 233.20 [emphasis supplied]
Instead of merely showing that a regulation conflicting with parents’ rights is reasonable, the state must, therefore, reach the higher standard of the “compelling interest test,” which requires the state to prove its regulation to be the least restrictive means.
Hodgson v. Minnesota, 497 U.S. 417 (1990)
In Hodgson the Court found that parental rights not only are protected under the First and Fourteenth Amendments as fundamental and more important than property rights, but that they are “deemed essential.”
The family has a privacy interest in the upbringing and education of children and the intimacies of the marital relationship which is protected by the Constitution against undue state interference. See Wisconsin v Yoder, 7 406 US 205
We have long held that there exists a “private realm of family life which the state cannot
enter.” Prince v Massachusetts …
A natural parent who has demonstrated sufficient commitment to his or her children is thereafter entitled to raise the children free from undue state interference. As Justice White explained in his opinion of the Court in Stanley v Illinois, 405 US 645 (1972) [other cites omitted]:
“The court has frequently emphasized the importance of the family. The rights to conceive and to raise one’s children have been deemed ‘essential,’ Meyer v Nebraska, … ‘basic civil rights of man,’ Skinner v Oklahoma, 316 US 535, 541 (1942), and ‘[r]ights far more precious … than property rights,’ May v Anderson, 345 US 528, 533 (1953) … The integrity of the family unit has found protection in the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, Meyer v Nebraska, supra.” [emphasis supplied]