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Supreme Court holds, 5-2, that "one parent rule" was unconstitutional

Justice Bridget McCormack wrote the majority opinion in the June 2 holding overturning the so-called "one-parent rule."  The holding was in the case of In re Sanders, Minors, Department of Human Services v. Lance Laird and Tammy Sanders. After the DHS achieved an adjudication that Sanders was an unfit parent, it sought a ruling depriving Laird of parental rights, even though he had not been adjudicated unfit.  It relied on a rule, known as the "one-parent rule," adopted by the Michigan Appeals Court. Under the appellate court's interpretation of statute, the Court acquired jurisdiction over minor children as soon as one parent was adjudicated "unfit" and could then deny the other parent his or her parental rights.

The Supreme Court held that the latter rule, which essentially deemed a parent unfit without proper adjudication, was constitutionally infirm and violated Laird's right to due process.  Two recently elected Republican-nominated Justices disagreed with the outcome and would have upheld the "one-parent rule" and would approve of the process of taking away a parent's rights, with or without formal adjudication of his or her fitness.

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