Court grants cert on grandparent visitation
VOLOKH at MAIL.LAW.UCLA.EDU
Wed Sep 29 13:08:28 PDT 1999
Any thoughts on the likely outcome or reasoning?
Family Law: Constitutionality of state nonparent visitation statutes --
Granting certiorari, the United States Supreme Court has agreed to
consider a Washington case addressing the rights of third parties, including
grandparents, to petition for visitation rights with a minor child under
state law. The Washington Supreme Court had held that the Washington
statutes at issue, which addressed the visitation rights of nonparents, gave
grandparents standing to petition for visitation rights. The Washington
Supreme Court went on to conclude, however, that the statutes were
unconstitutional, inasmuch as they impermissibly interfered with parents'
fundamental interest in the care, custody, and companionship of their
children. The statutes contained no threshold requirement of a finding of
harm to the child as a result of the discontinuation of visitation with a
nonparent, the Washington Supreme Court found, and did not require the
petitioner to establish that he or she had a substantial relationship with
the child. (Case below: In re Custody of Smith, 969 P.2d 21 (Wash. 1998).)
To read the Washington case, use FIND with the citation 969 P.2d 21.
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