Tuesday, September 14, 2004

Libertarian Presidential Candidate

This is a portion of the family rights platform of Libertarian candidate for president, Michael Badnarik. You can access it directly here or access his website here.

I'm not trying to sway anyone's political beliefs - BUT Mr Badnarik is one of the very few candidates considering these issues in any type of forward thinking or constitutionally correct manner. From Republicans and Democrats we get the same rhetoric and propaganda about the role of family, deadbeat dads, etc...

No issue is more sensitive -- and few issues are more troubling to Libertarians -- than the role of government in family life. On the face of things, the federal government has an even smaller role in that area than it does in most, and I favor keeping Washington out of issues like defining and licensing marriage, regulating homeschooling, mandating childhood vaccinations or using tax policy for "socially engineering" the makeup and function of the family.

However, there are some areas of family life in which the federal government arguably has a role to play. The Constitution ordains that all Americans receive the equal protection of the law, and it prohibits involuntary servitude.

In both of these areas, the federal government has failed America's families and, in particular, its parents.

Equal protection of the law pre-supposes fairness for those coming before the bar of justice. Yet in divorce proceedings, the states routinely award custody of minor children to one parent or another, relegating the other parent to the status of "second-class citizen" -- not because the latter parent has been convicted of any crime, or found unfit, but because of a prejudice in favor of father or mother as the best "single" parent.

This is a matter of federal interest under the 14th Amendment, even intra-state. Once one parent or another, possibly with a child in tow, moves to another state, any shadow of doubt is erased. It becomes an interstate matter, and by definition therefore falls under federal jurisdiction.

As president, I will direct the Justice Department's civil rights division to investigate state policies which violate the 14th Amendment rights of parents and to pursue the elimination of those policies in court. The default presumption in any divorce proceeding must be for joint custody of minor children. Failing the waiver of that presumption by one parent, or proof that one parent is unfit, to deny any parent equal access to, and equal participation in the raising of, his or her children is clearly an abuse of law and repugnant to the Constitution.

Above and beyond the matter of custody comes child support. While it is reasonable to assess support for a minor child when circumstances dictate that he or she will be living exclusively with one parent, the matter has been inflated into, literally, a federal case.


The 13th Amendment prohibits involuntary servitude. In the Slaughterhouse Cases, the Supreme Court clearly and unambiguously ruled that this prohibition applies to "peonage" -- the attachment of criminal liability to failure to pay, or work off, debt. Yet, across the nation, hundreds of thousands of non-custodial parents find themselves in court, often charged with felonies and facing prison, for their failure or inability to pay child support. Further, the federal government has intervened to the extent of maintaining a special database to track "deadbeat parents" across state lines in order to enforce these draconian and unconstitutional laws.

As president, I will direct the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice to sue states which attach criminal liability to child support obligations and, if necessary, to charge government officials who administer that unconstitutional criminal liability with violations of the civil rights of non-custodial parents.


I'm Michael Badnarik, Libertarian for President. I ask the tough questions?to give you answers that really work!

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