Friday, March 07, 2008

In Re Rachel L. (Cal. Ct. App. - Feb. 28, 2008)

Things aren't going very well for Justice Croskey lately.

He published an opinion late last week about homeschooling that was interesting, but which I didn't think was especially worthy of comment because I understood (I think) what he meant and where he was coming from, at least in the context of the children at issue in the case, who had been allegedly highly abused and neglected. As I read the opinion, he meant to say -- albeit in a somewhat overbroad fashion -- that parents don't possess a categorical constitutional or statutory right to educate their children in whatever fashion they wish, and that a reasonable response to the neglect at issue here would be to require the children to be educated in a public or real private school, not in a "homeschool" with virtually no supervision run by neglectful parents.

But then the firestorm began.

The press got a hold of the opinion, the homeschoolers went up in arms, and all of the sudden Justice Croskey was barraged, I'm sure, with a plethora of phone calls, e-mails, and critiques. All for a loosely-worded opinion that, I believe, anyway, wasn't intended to stand for the extreme proposition claimed for it by its opponents.

My strong, strong sense is that Justice Croskey's chambers (and the rest of the panel) is as we speak working on a sua sponte amendment to the opinion to make its more limited message clearer. Mind you, I might be wrong about this, and assure you I have no inside information in this regard. But I bet that what Justice Croskey meant to say isn't what some/many readers have garnered from the opinion, and imagine that he's feverishly working to bring that point home.

But, in the meantime, Justice Croskey even has the Governator totally insulting him. Yikes. And on the other side, Justice Croskey has my kind words from last year. And even this from a guy who occasionally misspells Justice Croskey's last name. So small solace there.

Sorry for the hassle during the last several days, Justice Croskey. It happens.