Reducing Government’s Footprint


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.”



Filed under Elections, Government's Footprint, Minnesota

10 responses to “Reducing Government’s Footprint

  1. sueinmn

    Has Murphy lost his liberal beliefs suddenly? Oh ya, hes a lame duck as he leaves congress. This is all the more reason for term limits.
    Seems what congress should be spending their time on is jobs, economy, and reform. Worrying or wasting public funds debating tatoos is somewhat a waste when so many other permanent life altering topics are needed to debated.

  2. The term “liberal” seems less equated these days with individual rights and liberties.

    However, the ACLU has filed an amicus brief for the Plaintiffs in the Red Wing Rental Code litigation.

  3. In the above cases, what if parents do not want their child educated? What if they want the child to stay home and not have any kind of education. It seems to me that we have rules about children being in school unless there is proof that they are being home schooled. So it seems that, in some cases, that parents do not have all the rights pertaining to children.

    • Jambo

      Carol: I would say – Might develope AID (ani-social disorder) all by in turn, might be a great discussion for phychologists once mended into a disorder!

  4. So, what about this issue?

  5. Well, parents don’t have the last word about education. Why should we pick and choose what they have the last word on?

  6. Gaye

    Just an interesting point about tattoos: If you have a tattoo that is visible outside the body area covered by underwear, you cannot be considered for an officer position in the U.S. military. How many people will lose the chance for job opportunities because of visible tattoos. A decision made as a “child” can have consequences for a lifetime….shouldn’t….but there you have another of prejudice used to screen people out of work.

    • Jambo

      Gaye: Has living our lives as we choose with freedom from a regime:

      Gaye: Possibly they be no regime with no freedom and tattoos, and pink hair while wearing 50 pairs of that Wrangler jean you like!?!?

      And Gaye seems quite selective?

      – Jambo

  7. Sueinmn

    No one would ever envision a form of government that pitted fit parents against the state over the right to make decisions concerning their children.

    Quoted from

    But no one ever envisioned todays form of government as they chip away at much. Are they for us or against us? Are they taking away personal liberties slowly but surely? The protection of civil liberties is a key responsibility of all citizens.

  8. Great comment and quote Sue!

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