Reaction to ruling on German homeschooling family

'Special Report' All-Star panel weighs in


This is a rush transcript from "Special Report," March 3, 2014. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.


MICHAEL FARRIS, ROMEIKE FAMILY ATTORNEY: I'm extremely disappointed not with the Supreme Court's decision, but I'm actually upset with the Obama administration because they are the ones that have made the fundamental decision.

REP. TREY GOWDY, R – SC: The president is advocating for the legalization or citizenship of 12 million people. Surely you would think this administration could find it in their heart to support one single family that just wants to exercise its right under our First Amendment, in my judgment, to educate their children according to their religious views. I can't imagine why the Department of Justice would not rush to the defense of a family that wants to come to this country to exercise their First Amendment beliefs.


BRET BAIER, ANCHOR: A German family comes to the U.S. seeking asylum because they homeschooled their children. And now they are being told that they have to leave. They are going to it be deported. The Supreme Court saying they need -- they are not going to hear the appeal. We're back with the panel.  Mara, how about this?

MARA LIASSON, NATIONAL PUBLIC RADIO: Well, this is a very conservative Supreme Court, and the majority was not appointed by the Obama administration. So that, to me, is pretty interesting. This Supreme Court doesn't want to hear their case. I think that that's where the homeschool advocate's anger should be directed.

Now, granted the administration didn't support them. They went to court to say they shouldn't. I wonder if this family could have stayed in the U.S. under any other circumstances. People come to the United States all the time, not asking for asylum, but they come for the same reason this family did, for freedom.

GEORGE WILL, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: Well, they still may stay here because this president famously exercises what he calls enforcement discretion. And it's up to him to decide whether to enforce the deportation.

This family is not here as immigrants but seeking asylum from persecution. That's what asylum means. And the administration argues, I'm afraid technically rightly that, in fact, they are not persecuted because the law that they have a grievance with is not applied to their family or category of homeschoolers, but to all Germans. Furthermore, we seem to be in the position of saying that homeschooling is not a fundamental right whereas, in fact, we have come close to it saying that in the 1925 Supreme Court decision in which it says no state can force to you go to public schools because no state has the right to standardize its children by forcing them to accept instruction from public teachers only. And that's a very short step from establishing a fundamental right to homeschooling.

BAIER: So critics, Charles, are saying why would the administration invest this much time to stop this family's appeal?

CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: Well, that's the use of discretion. This is an administration that has exempted millions of young illegal immigrants at its discretion because it thinks that the policy is bad. Here it could easily have not appealed the decision that would have allowed them to stay. So I agree with that.

But, on the principle, the reason that conservatives on the court wouldn't hear the case is because you have got to be very careful how much sympathy you have for the family. And I would look for another way in which you let them say. You don't want to expand the idea of asylum to the point where anybody can get in because of an idiosyncratic interpretation of their own religion and then the claim persecution.

The vast majority of Germans are Christian and nobody is claiming that the schooling system is a way that deprives them of the practice of Christianity. So I think I understand technically why as a matter of asylum it would be rejected. But let's hope somebody will exercise discretion and let them in on other grounds.

BAIER: Yeah. The decision really lies with the administration now, and the president.


BAIER: That is it for the panel. We will watch this one. But stay tuned for some Oscar-nominated films you may have missed.

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