Meyer v. Nebraska: Supreme Court Hears Arguments on Personal Liberty

Meyer v. Nebraska: Supreme Court Hears Arguments on Personal Liberty

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Argued: Meyer v. Nebraska - The Supreme Court will rule that parents may decide for themselves if and when their children may learn a foreign language, based upon a fundamental liberty interest individuals have in the family unit.

In their final ruling, the Supreme Court says:

"The Court has never attempted to define, with exactness, the liberty guaranteed by the Fourteenth Amendment. Without doubt, it denotes not merely freedom from bodily restraint but also the right of the individual to contract, to engage in any of the common occupations of life, to acquire useful knowledge, to marry, establish a home and bring up children, to worship God according to the dictates of his own conscience, and generally to enjoy those privileges long recognized at common law as essential to the orderly pursuit of happiness by free men.

Certainly education and the pursuit of knowledge should be encouraged. Mere knowledge of the German language cannot be looked upon as harmful. Meyer's right to teach, and the right of parents to hire him so to teach were within the liberty of this Amendment."

The Supreme Court decision in Meyer v. Nebraska will become a foundation of later decisions regarding personal privacy and autonomy.

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