November 7 roundup

by Walter Olson on November 7, 2007


1 Anonymous Attorney 11.07.07 at 9:46 am

Re: the anti-homeschooling feminist law professor:

Scariest sentence I’ve read this week:

“Modern day homeschooling raises then in stark form questions about the obligations that states have toward children being raised in illiberal subgroups.”

Aaaaaaaaaah! I’ll attempt not to overreact, but I’m having a hard time here. The state obligation to “children being raised in illiberal subgroups”? What part of the fall of the Soviet Union did this lady miss?

2 Ryan Frank 11.07.07 at 11:58 am

What part of the fall of the Soviet Union did this lady miss?

I’m she misses all of it apparently.

3 nnbr 11.07.07 at 2:17 pm

The issue as to the Yuracko paper is not that she supports so avidly statist ideas. Many people – and nearly all bureaucracies – do as well.

The real issue is why a person with such hatred for intellectual diversity was accepted to prestigious schools (Stanford, no less), obtained clerkships, and eventually landed a professorship.

The problem thus lies not with Yuracko – it lies with the structure of academia. Academia rewards her kind of groupthink while systematically shutting off opportunities for ethical, independent thinkers.

Interestingly, her paper was accepted at the Berkeley law review, at whose law school a bunch of liberal statists had run out of town the previous dean, a brilliant scholar, just like they did to Summers at Harvard for perceived infractions against political correctness.

Worrying about this one paper is missing the forest for the trees: worry rather about how good scholars and thinkers are systematically disenfranchised from schools to make room for mediocrities.

4 ben tillman 11.07.07 at 5:41 pm

In other words, Yuracko is arguing that the Constitution requires the establishment of a national religion whose dogma is to be instilled by the public schools. Isn’t the Constitution rather clear on that point?

5 Richard Nieporent 11.07.07 at 9:06 pm

I have a simple way of satisfying Professor Yuracko’s concerns. We can mandate that all homeschoolers attend the University of Delaware so that they can be reeducated.

6 Deoxy 11.08.07 at 9:44 am

ben tillman nails it exactly.

And nnbr’s largr point about academia is spot on as well.

7 Hans Bader 11.08.07 at 10:20 am

It’s hard to square Professor Yuracko’s erroneous arguments with a long line of controlling Supreme Court decisions that squarely contradict them (and which the law review that published her piece apparently allowed her to simply ignore).

Educating children isn’t a “public function” that triggers the state-action doctrine, as she claims, but rather a parental right. See, e.g., Pierce v. Society of Sisters.

Her fear that some home-school curricula might reinforce gender stereotypes (which most don’t) doesn’t change this. The state-action doctrine means that constitutional norms don’t bind private actors like parents.

The state doesn’t have a duty to prevent private sex discrimination (see, e.g., Moose Lodge v. Irvis (state doesn’t have duty to prevent even private racial discrimination, even when it is committed by an entity that receives licenses or other state benefits)).

Moreover, Congress and the federal courts, which respectively have only enumerated powers
and limited jurisdiction, have no power to regulate purely private gender discrimination in non-commercial contexts. (See United States v. Morrison, 529 U.S. 598 (2000) (invalidating Subtitle II-C of the Violence Against Women Act, which federalized domestic violence cases)).

Exempting home schoolers from state mandates doesn’t violate the Constitution, but rather promotes individual freedoms, such as freedom of religion. See, e.g., Corporation of the Presiding Bishop v. Amos (Supreme Court says that Title VII’s broad exemption for religious entities and corporations is perfectly constitutional and legitimately promotes freedom of religion).

Professor Yuracko simply ignores binding precedent that shreds her argument.

8 Deoxy 11.09.07 at 10:38 am

Hans Bader,

Yours is just a more specific version of the general comment made by nnbr, above.

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