Supreme Court on homeschool persecution case

HSLDABy Home School Legal Defense Association

The United States Supreme Court has scheduled Romeike v. Holder for review conference February 21. The court is expected to rule on whether or not to take the case and announce the ruling in its February 24 orders.

Uwe and Hannelore Romeike and their children were initially granted asylum by a U.S. immigration judge in 2010 after he determined that the German government’s refusal to permit them to homeschool for religious reasons amounted to persecution. Germany had threatened to levy fines, file criminal charges, and take custody of the children if the Romeikes did not stop homeschooling.

The Obama administration appealed this decision, arguing that the German government was merely doing its job by enforcing a law that applies to everyone, an argument that the Sixth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals agreed with in 2012. After the entire Sixth Circuit denied a request by the Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) to rehear the case, HSLDA took the case to the U.S. Supreme Court.

After being told by the Supreme Court to respond to HSLDA’s appeal, the U.S. Justice Department is again claiming that the German law applies across the board despite evidence of the German High Court saying the purpose of the law is to suppress religious and philosophically motivated “parallel societies.”

HSLDA Founder and Chairman Michael Farris, the principal author of the Romeikes’ Supreme Court brief, said that the court should hear the case primarily in order to right a grave injustice.

“The Supreme Court should intervene to settle the law in the federal circuits, which are in a state of chaos over how to decide when a foreign law is used to persecute people who act on the basis of their religion, like the Romeikes,” Farris said. “The Sixth Circuit’s decision perverted congressional intent of asylum law and used it as a sword against the Romeikes. This is an absurdity that we hope the Supreme Court will overturn.”

HSLDA Director of International Relations Michael Donnelly also criticized the Sixth Circuit ruling. “It is appalling that three American judges ignored critical evidence from the German High Court which explicitly states that German states may treat religiously or philosophically motivated homeschooling parents unequally and harshly,” he said. “The recent story of the Wunderlich family, whose children were seized just because of homeschooling and who are now effectively imprisoned in Germany, demonstrates how important this issue is. The fact that our own government is unwilling to support asylum for these families is troubling.”

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. Visit us online at

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