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In the Supreme Court of the United States ROUTTEN v ROUTTEN


This case centers upon the very cornerstone of our society: the family. Deeper still, this case involves the intersection of the family and the law: parents’ fundamental rights in directing the care, custody, and control of their children as a family and the State’s power to affect, limit, or even terminate those rights.


This Court has determined that parents have a fundamental right to direct the care, custody, and control of their children. This Court also has determined that the government shall not interfere with this right unless and until a parent is proven unfit. In contradiction to this determination, the North Carolina Supreme Court in the case below declared protection of that fundamental right irrelevant in a custody dispute between two natural parents. Routten v. Routten, 843 S.E.2d 154, 159 (2020). Instead, the North Carolina Supreme Court upheld the trial judge’s denial of custody and reasonable visitation to the Petitioner based on the judge’s findings related to the best interest of the child, even though the trial judge did not find the mother unfit. Id. at 159. The holding below directly contradicts this Court’s recognition of parents’ primary and fundamental rights in the care, custody, and control of their children.


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