Tennessee Child Custody Case Invokes 14th Amendment

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January 29th, 2009 Leave a comment Go to comments

A Tennessee child custody case involving a little girl named Kate Hopkins and her father Jeremy Hopkins is developing into a test of the 14th Amendment equal protection by the law. If the 14th Amendment is found to apply to child custody rights as it appears it should, then it follows that the apparent and widespread bias of the US courts against fathers is unconstitutional. Therefore this case could affect child custody decisions across the entire United States.

The 14th Amendment of the US Constitution states:

Section 1. All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

The 14th Amendment has previously been used to strip an abusive Child Protective Service social worker in California of immunity after illegal actions she took against family by removing their children without an emergency or a warrant. See CPS Social Worker broke US Constitution 14th Amendment for more information.

In this Tennessee child custody battle, the mother moved away from the area to Pennsylvania and has impeded the father’s access to their daughter. This is a common action in divorces involving children. Mothers frequently disregard the interests of the children to have both parents involved significantly in their lives and walk all over the rights of fathers in most areas of the United States. And they typically do this with the complicit knowledge and cooperation of courts and law enforcement.

The father, Jeremy Hopkins, is reportedly a lawyer, but despite legal education and knowledge superior to that of most fathers, the results to date haven’t been far different from those of other fathers. Mothers who refuse to allow their children reasonable and frequent contact with the fathers often do this with judicial complicity that relegates fathers to no contact or very limited visitation. The four judges involved in the case to date did not order the shared parenting plan required by the Tennessee Legislature and Tennessee Supreme Court.

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Further reading

Divorced father seeks equal protection – Custody challenge cites discriminatory decisions

Discussion thread: Let’s see what happens next

Bradley County Family Brings National Attention To Child Custody Cases

Child Custody Statistics

Tennessee Uniform Parenting Plan Forms

Unconstitutional Child Custody Decisions

  1. January 29th, 2009 at 06:06 | #1

    Should be a very interesting case to watch develop. I am a firm proponent of a rebuttal presumption of shared-custody. Absent reasonable evidence of a lack of parental fitness, there are few reasons I can think of (most have to do with voluntary arrangements to have unbalanced custody) why shared-parenting isn’t the default ruling.

    I believe it would reduce divorce for the usual “no-fault” reasons, but more importantly – the children aren’t used as pawns in a “winner-take-all” adversarial process that plagues family court and our society today.

  2. Robin Shaye
    January 29th, 2009 at 07:20 | #2

    I am wondering why the government is turning this into a gender war. Fathers as well as mothers, frequently disregard the interests of the children. EVERYONE gets hurt;the children, the fathers, the mothers as well as extended families. What really needs to happen is better regulation of the courts. People need to realize that it’s really not “Gendar bias” in the courts; rather it’s just status quoa. Years ago when all (most) moms stayed at home & the dads worked it was a routine decision to give primary custody to the women. Now the mens groups are screaming “Gender bias!” However, they are not taking into consideration of how the mother can now support her children – especially if she’s been a stay-at-home mom. This “ammendment” would also give ample ability to abusive men to continue the abuse within the courts by taking the children away from the mother & giving them to the abuser. There needs to be a better plan in place for the sake of the children. This one is not the solution.

  3. alfred e newman
    January 29th, 2009 at 08:21 | #3

    The 4 judges involved should be dropped on a deserted island w/out food or water and forgotten.

  4. January 29th, 2009 at 21:56 | #4

    Thank you for featuring this article. Fathers’ right to be a meaningful part of their children’s lives, have been eroded to the point of non-existence. My research suggests that this is a phenomenon consistent throughout the industrialized nations. Children who are alienated from their fathers are more likely later in life to have emotional/behavioral problems, suffer from depression, drop out of school, fail in their jobs, and suffer from other social problems. I invite you to visit my site devoted to raising awareness on this growing problem: http://fathersprivilege.blogspot.com/

  5. Skunk
    February 6th, 2009 at 07:29 | #5

    @Robin Shaye

    I half agree. While I feel there is a gender bias, I do think this is kind of blown out of proportion.

    But your last part is… ugh…

    The 14th Amendment? The one quoted at the top? It’s a part of the constitution already. How could you not know that? We’ve had 27 amendments already… what the article is saying is that this lawyer is trying to say that he isn’t getting due process due to the gender bias.

    And this is why we can’t have nice things. People just aren’t smart any more.

    • Chris
      February 6th, 2009 at 13:15 | #6

      People should know the 14th Amendment calling for equal protection under the law for citizens of the United States is the law of the land.

      Unfortunately, even a lot of judges forget this.

      Jeremy Hopkins believes that the Tennessee courts are not applying the child custody laws equally to all parties. That in and of itself is already a 14th Amendment issue, even without the gender bias. When you add the gender bias problem, it’s another conflict with the 14th Amendment.

  6. Howard Jones
    February 15th, 2009 at 01:28 | #7

    I am a father that was never married to the natural biological mother. I have won primary residential custody of my child after fighting in court for 8 long and expensive years.The 5th admendment also states that everyone is entitled to a fair trial on the matter. The 14th admendment states that through the Due Process and Equality protection under the constitution was are to be seen as EQUALS in regard to rearing our children as we the natural and biological parents see fit without impedementd or restrictions from any court or government agencies.
    There is alot to be done with the gender bias court systems that claim to look for THE BEST INTEREST OF THE CHILDREN but those children are the very first ones affected by the courts bias personal judgments against the fathers that mean so much to those children.
    They states try to tack on unreasonable amounts of arrearages to the father trying to make criminals out of them by making it to where they know they will never be able to pay that amount. That is totally unconstitutional on its face. The federal courts do not support DHS and their enforcment programs of child support. But our tax dollars are used for them to break the laws of the land which is THE UNITED STATES CONSTITUTION for all the legal and law bidding citizens.
    The very ones that are against this revolution that will be taking place in America for the best interest of the father and child relations of american culture. STAND UP YOU FATHERS AND LET IT BE KNOWN (((WE WILL NOT STAND FOR THIS DISCRIMENATION ANY LONGER) STAND UP I SAY!!!!!!

  7. Joe Shine
    October 19th, 2009 at 12:00 | #8

    If you can’t see that Family Law and Family Court Judges have nullified the US Constitution
    to practice laws that belong in another country, you are blind. Almost every law practiced in the family court system has some invented device to allow it to exist. They have invented a way to steal children from one parent and, his or family. They have invented a way to have one parent pay for the divorce and child custody. The children pay for both. One example is the law renames a debt as an obligation. Then the Court violates the 13th and 14th Amendments. A tick a or a device. It is for this exact reason the Constitution was written. The public has been swindled by the use of semantics. In the case of child support, there are many more instances. When the result is servitude by arrears through job loss the court calls it something else. Knowing it has the force and might of the judicial system to rename a debt an obligation. Family law and the Constitution exist side by side only through these tricks of semantics. Family law should be dismantled in the public interest.

  8. Gordon
    January 28th, 2011 at 21:52 | #9

    Children are a privilege given to both parents by GOD. Having both parents is more than a privilege for children. The 14th Amendment guarantees protection of our privileges. It states this very clearly. Any state that enforces anything less than equal parenting is violating the civil rights of the children involved, and the parent on the short end of the stick.

  9. Jonathan
    December 21st, 2011 at 10:49 | #10

    I have recently gone through what has been discussed above. I have went from standard court order, to extended visitation, to shared parenting for my daughter who is ten. I recently took mom to court again for contempt of this court order. Despite the 85 possible counts of contempt that ranged from parental kidnapping, to violations in our medical provision, to denial of parenting time and make up time, despite having a written documentation based off of text messages, doctors bills, violations of Ohio Revised Code(s) including a domestic violence section prohibiting a shared parenting order I lost my contempt and the magistrate dissolved the order giving me weekends and extra time in the summer.

    To you Robin and people like you, you are part of the problem. 14th Amendment is supposed to give equal rights across the board. It wasn’t apparent in my case. He used my military obligation as a reservist to base some of his findings on. Not only am I male that disqualifies me but I proudly serve my country one weekend a month, two weeks a year and that causes too much problems. Mother has had 15 different residences, 5 different schools and it’s not gender based? Things will continue because people won’t stand. Women are taught that they can do anything a man can do but better yet men cannot raise children. If things ran on statistics fathers would be noted as being extremely important. If men were to stop having the fear and demand equality in the home posts like these would not exist.


    It is time for the states to understand that our families are more important than their greed of having child support. After all why take my child from me after having shared parenting since 2005 and a contempt that I filed? Now I’m subjected to paying into the system.

    • December 24th, 2011 at 23:58 | #11

      Jonathan aka Soldier Dad,

      What is being done to you and millions of other parents is a crime against the 14th Amendment. You can read story after story from Fathers and Families on similar crimes against military parents. While most are fathers, some of the abused are military mothers. American soldiers can’t even count on their own government to honor their rights and certainly not to honor their service. American Soldiers Persecuted by American Government talks about how bad many American soldiers have it today.

      One of the most recent abominations against a US military service member involves a military dad named Edward Glover. Glover was stripped of all parental rights because his wife (the mom) shacked up with a child abuser and failed to protect their child. She was stripped of her parental rights by the State of Arkansas. Glover was deployed overseas and therefore was not allowed due process nor given the military’s permission to take care of his abused child. Edward Glover has reportedly never even been accused of child abuse, yet he is being treated as if he is a convicted child abuser himself simply because he serves the US military and therefore has no rights in the eyes of the government. Go read more about it in Iraq War Veteran, Fit Father Has Parental Rights Terminated.

      You can read case after case of US soldiers who are deprived of due process, 14th Amendment rights, and even banned from any further parenting or contact with their children simply because they serve the US military. It is clear that the US government regards its soldiers not as heroes but as nothing more than cannon fodder and slaves who have duties to kill whomever the government orders them to kill but have no rights of their own. No rights to even raise their own children, no rights of due process, and certainly no Constitutional rights at all.

      Yet you and Edward Glover serve the US military despite clear evidence of how your nation’s government would rather abuse you and your families than to follow its own Constitution.

      Ask yourself, why are you serving an evil government?

      The US government is the foremost backer of terrorism against American citizens. The illegal harm they do to Americans goes beyond the sum total of the last couple decades of damage from Al Qaeda, Neo-Nazi and other white supremacist nutcases, and “religious” wackjobs who believe it is somehow a holy mission to kill other people who do not believe the way they do or who do not share the same accent, skin pigmentation, or culture.

      No ethical person would suggest you support Al Qaeda or any of those terrorist organizations.

      So why in the world would you be willing to put your life on the line to fight for the US government that is doing even more harm to US citizens than all of those other terrorists combined?

      For the most part, the current leadership of the US consists of treasonous corrupt criminals who violate the US Constitution for their own power and profit. They have zero moral or legal legitimacy. They buy votes with illegal legislation and pandering to abusive and corrupt corporations and organizations to gain campaign contributions. The ability to terrorize citizens who have done nothing wrong is their key to power.

      These crimes go all the way to the top, all the way to child-abuser-in-chief President Obama who pretended when he was running for election that he would do something about such unconstitutional laws as the US Patriot Act and unlimited detention of “enemy combatants” with no charges and no due process. Instead, he has gone even further than George W. Bush did. Obama hasn’t done one thing to put a stop to even more outrageous violations of the US Constitution such as the widespread discrimination against military parents. Hell no, his running mate Biden is a supporter and instigator of such discriminatory legislation as VAWA which is backed by violent women who believe beating up peaceful men outside of US government hearings is acceptable conduct.

      Now we see the US government trying to ram SOPA down our throats to legitimize governmental Internet censorship. American governments use violent force against peaceful protests all across the US to silence opposition to the widespread governmental corruption. The citizens are sick of the corruption and abuse and the government’s answer is to terrorize them into submission.

      American soldiers have taken an oath to protect and defend it and its Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic. They have volunteered to put their lives on the line to do it. But their evil masters reward them with abuse and contempt.

      Ask yourself seriously, who is the #1 enemy of the US Constitution in this day and age? It is the US government and many or most of its political subdivisions. If any foreign nation instigated the abominations US leaders inflict upon the American populace, there would be a national cry for war against such enemies. The American public would expect US soldiers to take the war to the enemy and to win. But when the enemy is US, state, and local government officials then the US military should conspire with the enemy or take orders from them? That is exactly what they are expecting you to do and exactly what you are doing if you continue to serve in the US military and take orders from an illegitimate government.

      Today we live at a historical nexus point. The Middle East is throwing off its shackles by overthrowing totalitarian governments via mass public opposition while American sheep are coddling their tyrant leaders and American allies such as the UK are busy figuring out ways to silence opponents among their own populations. How long do you think anybody will have any chance of freedom or civil rights if the Western world goes totalitarian as its corruption, abuse, and lawlessness spirals out of control?

      You should protest against what the US does to you and your family. If you’re not willing to march against, speak up against, and take up arms against the enemies of the US Constitution and terrorists who run this nation, then at least stop conspiring with them as a willing member of their military.

      Resign from the US military and make your command fully aware that you cannot in good conscience serve a government that violates the Constitution that you are sworn to protect and does so by illegally harming your own family.

      Most American soldiers are honorable people who take their oath seriously. But they are being duped and manipulated to serve a horrible evil. Such honorable people should never serve in the armed forces of a nation run by terrorists and criminals such as the United States of America is today.

      Former leaders of the US such as George Washington and Thomas Jefferson would never have supported the current US government. Today’s US government does not represent its people, does not follow its Constitution, and has no legal or moral legitimacy. It derives its authority from corruption, coercion, and terror. The ability to continue this slide towards totalitarianism depends upon the cooperation of the US military first and foremost.

      If the US military were to actively oppose the corruption and terrorism executed by today’s US political leadership, the government would be forced to change its ways. But with abused soldiers like you not even willing to take a stand against their evil even to protect your own families, the criminals can see there is nobody who will seriously challenge them. So they continue their corrupt and abusive ways knowing that their military slaves will gladly pull the trigger when asked or step in front of a bullet or bomb to protect them. Their ability to spread evil far and wide for their own gain is due in large measure to the complicity of US soldiers who mistakenly think that following orders matters more than upholding the US Constitution.

      The enemies of today’s US government are anybody who has a different point of view, American families, and above all the US Constitution. They are intent on destroying and silencing all of them. And if soldiers like you continue to serve them, they will probably succeed.

  10. One of Thousands
    December 25th, 2011 at 13:13 | #12

    There are millions of current and former military, police, and other law enforcement who agree with you American Soldier. See http://www.oathkeepers.org.

    God bless us all in the land of the free–BECAUSE–of the brave–not “slave.”

  11. Brandon Steininger
    February 23rd, 2012 at 22:17 | #13

    I did everything in my power to up-hold, support, and defend the Constitution of the United States when the nation was at need of soldiers to fight the Global War on terrorism and returned alive as a honorable veteran of OIF-OEF.

    My spouse and I just had a child together and she filed for divorce 3 months afterwards, took our child to a different county and town.

    Now I have the same issue this man has.

    As a veteran and a father I am disgusted to see this… and the women who do this are nothing more than petty thieves and child abusers.

  1. June 11th, 2009 at 19:01 | #1
  2. July 5th, 2009 at 17:50 | #2

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