After big cases like Bremerton and Bruen, it seems like everyone and their cousin became a constitutional scholar over night. Dobbs especially has been in the limelight — penumbras and enumerations, viability, “returning the question to the states,” many a buzz word for and against forcing births has been shared in the public forum and yet nary a word has been said about the other genetic half of the zygote. No more. While there is no constitutional language concerning giving birth, there is clear constitutional language against forcing one to take care of the child. At least according to this guy on Reddit.
Child support is unconstitutional.
It is a financial legal obligation from a court where no crime has been committed. It is a debtors prison for all intents and purposes. Child support orders create situations in which it is illegal to be poor. Unemployment welfare pays some men “not to work,” while for single fathers It can be made a crime “not to work.”
This is an abomination in our legal system.
I get it, okay. On the one hand, he’s not alone. I, like most lawyers, have one or two constitutional hot takes that I like to pounce on randos at bars after one too many Miller High Lifes. For example, I think that jury nullification should be more than a power — it should be a right guaranteed by the Ninth Amendment. British juries did have the right to nullify prior to our founding, after all. I also think it would be cool if the Fourteenth Amendment prevented public schools from charging different tuition costs based on the state residency of the applicants. But this here? This is an interesting argument. Not interesting like “this line of thought begins to approach a good point,” interesting like “maybe people are on to something when they say that there needs to be some extra buffer between letting freshly minted JDs practice without some form of gatekeeping.” Takes this bad usually fall under the Fifth Amendment and require just compensation. And, much like that one kid in Con Law who keeps arguing that only American citizens are protected by the Fourth Amendment, this guy keeps doubling down.
[W]hy is child support federally enforced? If states have fiat jurisdiction than why can I not move to another state and avoid paying a child support order? Bush Senior made this a federal issue fully under the limits of the U.S. constitution.
If the state enforces the debt under penalty of jail, it is a debt to the state. That’s simple logic, no tricks. It doesn’t matter where the money is “supposed” to go; it is a debt to the state handed to a woman. I don’t need a citation that child support is an arbitrary nominal amount. That’s exactly what it is; “from father according to ability, to child according to need.”
It’s actually communist marxism [sic], dressed up and hidden using male-female relationships.
Nowhere in our bill of rights or constitution does it state that children have a right to their parents money.
Reading through this thread scratched a sovereign citizen episode of Maury itch I did not know that I had. In my naivete, I presumed that it couldn’t get any worse than this. After the long stretch of people offering different flavors and angles of why this dude was wrong, eventually he’d get the point, right? Right?
OP: She left me! How can it be logical that I owe her anything?
Commenter: You don’t owe her. Your financial responsibility is to the child. As the child is in her custody it is paid to her.
OP: Financial responsibility to a child is no different than saying the child is “entitled” to his father’s money. Children ARE NOT entitled to “support.”
I protested my ability to fight for custody in court as a religious objection, stating that fighting for custody is against my religion. So if I am morally prohibited from fighting for custody or even visitation, what reasoning is there to deny me even visiting hours and then extract child support from me?
I haven’t seen my kid in 4 years.
Commenter 2: Which religion is that?
OP: Christian. See 1 Kings. Custody and child support cannot be divorced from one another. It’s absurd to do so…King Solomon was ready to execute a child to resolve a custody dispute…How can you possibly not interpret that as a prohibition on fighting for custody?
Please. Whatever you do, don’t let Alito see this. The last thing we need is for the Christian Six to take this hack of legal argumentation and give it legs. I will be the first to openly admit I’m paranoid here. Back in the 70s, the NRA-funded take on private gun ownership as a constitutional right was laughed at — now it’s overturning 100+-year-old New York statutes with relatively little fanfare. Thankfully, the thread was locked before masterminds like the ones trying to pass heartbeat laws and prevent gay people from having access to healthcare had the chance to add to the religious theory crafting. Patrick Moynihan is probably somewhere rolling in his grave at the very thought of this.
Strict textualism, kids. Not even once.
Child Support Is Unconstitutional. [Reddit]
Chris Williams became a social media manager and assistant editor for Above the Law in June 2021. Prior to joining the staff, he moonlighted as a minor Memelord™ in the Facebook group Law School Memes for Edgy T14s. He endured Missouri long enough to graduate from Washington University in St. Louis School of Law. He is a former boatbuilder who cannot swim, a published author on critical race theory, philosophy, and humor, and has a love for cycling that occasionally annoys his peers. You can reach him by email at email@example.com and by tweet at @WritesForRent.