AUSTIN—On Friday, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton issued an opinion in response to a request by Representative James White regarding the scope of parental rights. The opinion affirms that “the interest parents possess with regard to their children is a fundamental liberty interest protected by the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.”
Attorney General Paxton’s opinion is a strong statement clearly outlining over a century of Texas and United States Supreme Court precedent recognizing the fundamental right of parents to raise their children free from government intrusion and subjecting nearly all state action that seeks to interfere with this right to strict scrutiny. The opinion recognizes that this right is expansive, extending well beyond mere custody and applying to the most basic of decisions parents make for their children including education, health care, and religious instruction.
“The parent-child relationship is a key foundation upon which civil society is built,” said Andrew Brown, director of the Center for Families & Children at the Texas Public Policy Foundation. “At a time when government routinely oversteps into the private realm of the family by seeking to micromanage the decisions of parents regarding the care and upbringing of their children, we applaud Attorney General Paxton for issuing an opinion that is faithful to the Constitution and sends a clear signal that Texas will vigorously defend the right of families to live free from unnecessary state interference.”
The Texas Public Policy Foundation earlier submitted a letter brief to the Office of the Attorney General in support of Representative White’s request.