Supreme Court Orders DOJ to Respond to German Homeschoolers' Petition

The Supreme Court has ordered Attorney General Eric Holder to respond to the Home School Legal Defense Association’s (HSLDA) petition on behalf of the Romeike family, a German family who sought legal asylum in the United States to escape persecution because homeschooling is largely prohibited in their home country.

In a press release, James Mason, HSLDA’s director of litigation, said that the order is a hopeful sign that the High Court will hear the case.

“The government initially waived its right to respond, apparently thinking that Romeike v. Holder wasn’t worthy of the Court’s consideration,” Mason said. “Clearly, someone in the Supreme Court disagrees. While the odds of the Court taking any case are very low, this has increased chances – but it is impossible to predict whether the court will ultimately accept the case.”

Initially, the Court had scheduled the case for consideration during its conference on November 26. The Department of Justice now has until December 19 to respond, though it can request an extension, making it likely that a final briefing may not be scheduled until February of 2014.

“We are pleased by the Court’s interest in the issues we have presented in our petition,” said HSLDA Chairman Michael Farris. “Romeike v. Holder gives the Court an opportunity to address important religious freedom and human rights issues. We hope that after due consideration of the government’s brief they will agree to hear our case.”

Breitbart News earlier reported that the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals had denied asylum to the Romeikes following the Obama administration’s appeal of an earlier decision by a U.S. immigration judge who had granted them political asylum.

Uwe and Hannelore Romeike fled to the United States in 2008 with their family after being threatened with thousands of dollars in fines and possible jail time in Germany because they choose to homeschool their children.

Michael Donnelly, HSLDA’s Director for International Affairs, observed that Germany’s treatment of homeschooling families violates its treaty obligations and contradicts basic human rights standards.

“Germany is a party to numerous international treaties,” Donnelly said. “Those treaties and fundamental international human rights standards recognize the role of parents in selecting the kind of education their children should receive. Banning this entire form of education violates those treaties and the rights of all German parents.”

“The German High Court is on record for saying that religious homeschoolers should be targeted and severely punished, yet our Justice Department sees nothing wrong with that,” Farris said. “The Attorney General and Sixth Circuit are ignoring critical evidence and are trying to send back this family who is trying to stay in our country legally.”

In July, Farris told Breitbart News, “This case raises an array of important questions. The ultimate question is what is the policy of the United States with regard to asylum when another country denies basic human rights to its citizens?”

Farris said that by appealing the immigration judge’s decision to grant asylum to the Romeikes, the Obama administration is backing Germany’s view of tolerance as “coerced homogenization.”

“The Obama administration’s definition of tolerance is not the same as the founders’ idea of religious liberty,” said Farris. “It’s actually totally opposite.”

“The basic question here,” he added, “is are we going to stand for religious liberty, or not?”


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