of choice in raising a child based upon the parents’ “ethical,
religious,” and “political beliefs” that “the state can neither supply
Given this information, how is the court to recognize,
interpret, and protect the rights of the child? As the Court in Bellotti
stated, “if the child shows that she is ‘mature enough and well
enough informed’ to understand the procedure and to make an
intelligent assessment of her circumstances, she is entitled to exercise
her right . . . without interference by her parents.”90 This reasoning
underscores the fact that the law does not change, but the child’s
understanding and maturity transforms, entitling him or her to more
fully exercise his or her rights. The lady holding the scales of justice
is blindfolded for a reason. The law is applied to all equally; race,
religion, gender, and age are not contributing factors. The facts
change from one case to the next, but the application of the law to
those facts should not change.
As noted in Bellotti, it is the child’s ability to understand and
make an intelligent assessment of his or her rights that determines his
or her ability to exercise those rights, though balanced against the
parents’ right in raising their child.91 And it is the Constitution that
protects the private lives of families from court intrusion.92
Accordingly, “the entry . . . into a home, for whatever purpose,
represents the greatest governmental intrusion into an individual’s
privacy.”93 Most often, these types of intrusions dictate and affect the
parents’ standard of care.94 But this “standard of care” is
constitutionally protected from governmental intrusion within the
89 See Bellotti, 443 U.S. at 638 (describing the state’s dedication to individual
freedom and freedom of choice as the basis for refraining from dictating the way
parents should raise their children).
90 Id. at 643.
91 Id. at 633-34.
92 Troxel, 530 U.S. at 65-66.
93 Henning, supra note 53, at 89. This entry into the home may include, for
example, state intervention, a parenting coordinator’s decision, or a court order
limiting or denying parent conduct. Troxel, 530 U.S. at 68.
94 Troxel, 530 U.S. at 68-69.