P.O. Box 3000, Purcellville, VA 20134
|For Immediate Release||Contact: Michael Farris Jr.|
|June 14, 2013||(540) 338-5600|
Sixth Circuit Orders Justice Department to Respond to Romeike Rehearing
PURCELLVILLE, Va.—On Wednesday, June 12, the Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit ordered the Department of Justice to respond to the Home School Legal Defense Association’s request to have the case reheard by the entire Sixth Circuit, en banc, encouraging the Romeike legal team that the Circuit is considering rehearing the case.
James R. Mason, HSLDA’s Director of Litigation noted that, while there is no guarantee of success, the order from the Court was a step in the right direction.
“Most requests for en banc rehearing are summarily denied without any further action,” he said. “Here, the Court has requested that the Justice Department respond, indicating that the Court is taking our petition seriously.”
HSLDA filed its request for rehearing on May 29, arguing that the three-judge Sixth Circuit panel that heard the case on April 23 failed to correctly apply its own cases to the Romeikes' situation. Michael Farris, founder and chairman of HSLDA, who is leading the effort on behalf of the Romeikes, hopes the Sixth Circuit will take up the case.
“The Sixth Circuit should take this case en banc,” he said. “The opinion of the three-judge panel ignored important evidence, muddled the law, and, most importantly, missed the opportunity to defend a quintessential American value—the freedom for parents to educate their children. Germany prohibits this behavior, and America should be a refuge for those who seek this freedom.”
The Romeikes, who fled from Germany to the United States to legally homeschool, are hopeful that a rehearing might result in a better outcome for their family. Michael Donnelly, HSLDA’s Director of International Affairs who works with persecuted homeschoolers worldwide, echoed Farris’s sentiments.
“Germany persecutes homeschoolers,” Donnelly said. “Exorbitant fines, custody threats, and imprisonment over homeschooling should be seen for what it is—persecution. It is unconscionable for the Sixth Circuit to ignore black and white edicts from the German Supreme Court explicitly condoning this behavior. Germany’s countrywide federal and state policies that essentially ban home education should not be accepted as complying with basic human rights standards.”
In addition to representing the family in court, HSLDA created a petition that has over 125,000 signatures on the White House website demanding permanent legal status for the Romeikes. The Romeike family also received congressional support when 27 congressmen sent a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder requesting asylum for the family. The Justice Department has until June 26 to respond to the petition for rehearing.
Home School Legal Defense Association is a nonprofit advocacy organization established to defend and advance the constitutional right of parents to direct the education of their children and to protect family freedoms.