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There is a liberty interest of parents in the care, custody, and control of their children is perhaps the oldest of the fundamental liberty interests recognized by the Court. More than 75 years ago, in Meyer v. Nebraska, 262 U. S. 390, 399, 401 (1923), the court held that the 'liberty' protected by the Due Process Clause includes the right of parents to 'establish a home and bring up children' and 'to control the education of their own.' Two years later, in Pierce v. Society of Sisters, 268 U. S. 510, 534-535 (1925), it again held that the 'liberty of parents and guardians' includes the right 'to direct the upbringing and education of children under their control.' The court explained in Pierce that '[t]he child is not the mere creature of the State; those who nurture him and direct his destiny have the right, coupled with the high duty, to recognize and prepare him for additional obligations.' Id., at 535. The court returned to the subject in Prince v. Massachusetts, 321 U. S. 158 (1944), and again confirmed that there is a constitutional dimension to the right of parents to direct the upbringing of ...

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