Troxel v. Granville

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Troxel v. Granville
Seal of the United States Supreme Court.svg
Argued January 12, 2000
Decided June 5, 2000
Full case name Troxel et vir v. Granville
Citations 530 U.S. 57 (more)
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. A law that allows anyone to petition a court for child visitation rights over parental objections unconstitutionally infringes on parents' fundamental right to rear their children.
Court membership
Case opinions
Plurality O'Connor, joined by Rehnquist, Ginsburg, Breyer
Concurrence Souter
Concurrence Thomas
Dissent Stevens
Dissent Scalia
Dissent Kennedy

Troxel v. Granville, 530 U.S. 57 (2000),[1] is a case in which the Supreme Court of the United States, citing a constitutional right of parents to rear their children, struck down a Washington state law that allowed any third party to petition state courts for child visitation rights over parental objections.

Impact of Troxel v. Granville[edit]

In the case of Troxel v. Granville, the United States Supreme Court stated that "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."[2] The Supreme Court also made it clear that this fundamental right is implicated in grandparent visitation cases. The plurality opinion stated at the outset that statutes allowing grandparent visitation orders to be imposed over parental objection "present questions of constitutional import." The Supreme Court flatly declared that "the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment protects the fundamental right of parents to make decisions concerning the care, custody, and control of their children", and struck down the Washington visitation statute because it unconstitutionally infringed on that fundamental parental right.

State courts considering non-parent visitation petitions must apply "a presumption that fit parents act in the best interests of their children."[3] Troxel requires that state courts must give "special weight" to a fit parent's decision to deny non-parent visitation. "Choices [parents make] about the upbringing of children... are among associational rights... sheltered by the Fourteenth Amendment against the State's unwarranted usurpation, disregard, or disrespect."[4] This principle must inform the understanding of the "special weight" that Troxel requires courts to give to parents' decisions concerning whether, when and how grandparents will associate with their children. Even though Troxel does not define "special weight," previous Supreme Court precedent indicates that "special weight" is a strong term signifying very considerable deference.[5] The "special weight" requirement, as illuminated by these prior Supreme Court cases, means that the deference provided to the parent's wishes will be overcome only by some compelling governmental interest and by overwhelmingly clear factual circumstances supporting that governmental interest.

See also[edit]


Works related to Troxel v. Granville at Wikisource

  1. ^ 530 U.S. 57 Full text of the opinion courtesy of
  2. ^ Troxel v. Granville, 530 U.S. 57, 65; 120 S. Ct. 2054, 2060 (2000).
  3. ^ Troxel, 530 US at 69; 120 S Ct at 2061, 2062.
  4. ^ M.L.B. v. S.L.J., 519 U.S. 102, 116-117 (1996).
  5. ^ See, for example, Comstock v. Group of Institutional Investors, 335 US 211, 230 (1948); Tibbs v. Florida, 457 US 31 (1982).
  • Edward Walsh, "Court Limits Visitation Rights of Grandparents; State Can't Overrule Decision Of a Fit Parent, Justices Say," Washington Post, June 6, 2000.
  • Joan Catherine Bohl, "That 'Thorny Issue' Redux: California Grandparent Visitation Law in the Wake of Troxel v. Granville" 36 Golden Gate U.L.Rev (2006)