The appeal brief, filed July 31, 2017, in the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit in St. Paul, Minnesota, disputes a lower court ruling that held that the school, county and health care authorities involved could not be held liable, despite their acting outside of state law. [Erick Kaardal, special counsel for the Thomas More Society was on Faith On Trial June 27 to discuss this matter. The podcast of the program can be found here.]
In May 2017, District Judge Paul Magnuson dismissed Calgaro's lawsuit. He admitted that the boy was not legally emancipated by a court order and agreed that Calgaro's parental rights “remained intact.” Despite these facts, the judge decreed that the de facto emancipation of Calgaro’s minor son by the county, school and medical care providers did not constitute an infringement of constitutionally-protected parental rights.
Thomas More Society Special Counsel Erick Kaardal pointed out, “The U.S. Constitution
says that parental rights of
fit parents are fundamental rights, fit parents’ parental rights over
unemancipated minors cannot be terminated without due process. U.S. District
Court Judge Magnuson decided that the defendants did not emancipate Ms.
Calgaro’s son because only a court order can do that. However, then, oddly,
Judge Magnuson ruled that Ms. Calgaro’s claims were meritless because she did
not name a specific policy of the county or school that caused the violation
and deprivation of her parental rights.”
Thomas More Society
“There’s a real disconnect in the District Court decision where the mother’s parental rights are admitted but not honored. Then, at the same time, the District Court claims those agencies which are violating Calgaro’s rights are doing nothing wrong,” explained Kaardal. “The U.S. Court of Appeals needs to untangle this incompatible scenario by stating how the law of parental rights and emancipation work in an administrative state by addressing emancipation procedures in a way that protects parental rights, and by clarifying the law in a way that does not violate those rights.”
The original lawsuit, Anmarie Calgaro v. St. Louis County et al, was filed in November 2016, when Calgaro charged St. Louis County, Fairview Health Services, Park Nicollet Health Services, and the St. Louis County School District with violating her due process rights under the Fourteenth Amendment.
The case detailed how these agencies usurped Calgaro’s parental rights over her minor son, providing him with transgender services and narcotic drugs. The youth was handled by the defendants as an emancipated minor despite there being no court action to that effect. Neither the school district, county nor any of the medical agencies named in the lawsuit provided notice or hearing to Calgaro, prior to terminating her parental rights over her minor child.
Kaardal has referred to Calgaro’s situation as “a parent’s worst nightmare,” noting that her son, while a minor, was steered through a life-changing, permanent body altering process, becoming a pawn in someone else’s sociopolitical agenda and being influenced by those who have “no legal or moral right to usurp the role of a parent.”
Read the Appeal Brief, filed July 31, 2017, with the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit in Anmarie Calgaro v. St. Louis County et al, by Thomas More Society Special Counsel Erick Kaardal, here [https://www.thomasmoresociety.org/prinicipal-brief-7-31-17/].
View the accompanying Appellant’s Addendum here [https://www.thomasmoresociety.org/appellants-addendum-7-31-17/] and Appellant’s Appendix here [https://www.thomasmoresociety.org/appellants-appendix-7-31-17/].
About the Thomas More Society: The Thomas More Society is a national not-for-profit law firm dedicated to restoring respect in law for life, family, and religious liberty. Headquartered in Chicago and Omaha, the Thomas More Society fosters support for these causes by providing high quality pro bono legal services from local trial courts all the way up to the United States Supreme Court. For more information, visit thomasmoresociety.org.