Too bad if your seventeen year old wants a tattoo of a religious symbol, American flag, artistic or political expression, even the words Mom or Dad. New Minnesota legislation bans tattoos to anyone under 18, even if they have parental permission. They can wait or go to another state. You can however, still can give your seventeen year old permission for early entry for the military, which also can be a permanent decision. What is the compelling state interest in banning tattoos for anyone under 18? This should be challenged in the courts. Bit by bit by bit, government chips away at fundamental liberty interests.
How your legislators voted: Steve Murphy (D): Yes. Tim Kelly (R), Steve Drazkowski (R): No.
“In American Constitutional Law, fundamental rights have special significance under the 14th Amendment to the Constitution. Via thedue process and equal protection clauses of that amendment, the Supreme Court has held that some rights are so fundamental, that any law restricting such a right must both serve a compelling state purpose, and be narrowly tailored to that compelling purpose.” The right to direct a child’s upbringing is fundamental. For an overview of constitutional analysis go here.
The issue isn’t whether teenagers should have tattoos, the issue is when does the government have the right to step in and usurp parental rights.
Troxel v. Granville: “The liberty interest at issue in this case–the interest of parents in the care, custody, and control of their children–is perhaps the oldest of the fundamental liberty interests recognized by this Court. More than 75 years ago, in Meyer v. Nebraska, 262 U.S. 390, 399, 401, 67 L. Ed. 1042, 43 S. Ct. 625 (1923), we held that the “liberty” protected by the Due Process Clause includes the right of parents to “establish a home and bring up children” and “to control the education of their own.” Two years later, in Pierce v. Society of Sisters, 268 U.S. 510, 534-535, 69 L. Ed. 1070, 45 S. Ct. 571 (1925), we again held that the “liberty of parents and guardians” includes the right “to direct the upbringing and education of children under their control.” We explained in Pierce that “the child is not the mere creature of the State; those who nurture him and direct his destiny have the right, coupled with the high duty, to recognize and prepare him for additional obligations.” 268 U.S. at 535.We returned to the subject in Prince v. Massachusetts, 321 U.S. 158, 88 L. Ed. 645, 64 S. Ct. 438 (1944), and again confirmed that there is a constitutional dimension to the right of parents to direct the upbringing of their children. “It is cardinal with us that the custody, care and nurture of the child reside first in the parents, whose primary function and freedom include preparation for obligations the state can neither supply nor hinder.” 321 U.S. at 166.”