About this Case

Article IX, section 1 of the California Constitution required the state legislature to use “all suitable means” to promote education “which is essential to the preservation of the rights and liberties of the people.”  In this case, state statutes enacted under this provision were used by the Los Angeles County Juvenile Court to conclude that a family’s home schooling was inferior and that the children would be better served by being in a traditional school setting.  The decision had the effect of limiting the Christian parents’ Free Exercise Rights in home-schooling their children.

Summary of NLF's Brief

Our brief made two arguments.  First, upholding the Juvenile Court’s decision would violate the Free Exercise Clause, because the decision was hostile towards religion.  Second, Wisconsin v. Yoder, a seminal Supreme Court case, was analogous to this case, because both the parents of the Amish children in Yoder and Rachel L.’s parents were fulfilling what they saw as their religious duty to educate their children.