Letter: Legislature should revisit bill for grandparents


To the editor,

Troxel v. Granville, a U.S. Supreme Court case from 2000, denied good, decent honorable grandparents visitation of their grandchildren. This decision was based on the Fifth and 14th Amendments of the Constitution, and their provisions regarding due process. Due process is a safeguard from arbitrary denial of life, liberty or property by the government. The court deferred to the legislature’s power to revise the law, but did not redefine the scope of a parent’s due-process right to control the non-intact parent visitation. Therefore, non-intact grandparent laws are not unconstitutional.

The Constitution grants 18 special powers to Congress. Statues relating to family law are not on this list. Any power not specifically given to Congress is reserved for and granted to the states. That’s why each individual state has the right to change the laws in the general area of family rights.

Justice Antonin Scalia, now deceased, dissented from the Supreme Court’s decision that a state law granting visitation rights to grandparents was unconstitutional. “No such right can be found in the express language of any constitutional provision,” the legal reference site Law.jrank.org noted in summarizing Scalia’s position.

There is no reason for elected officials to deny grandparents of Connecticut during the short, 2018 session of the legislature. House Bill 5212, An Act Concerning A Grandparent’s Right To Visitation With His Or Her Grandchild, is identical to 2017’s H.B. 7244. This legislation had tremendous bipartisan support, was approved by the Judiciary Committee 41-0 and was approved by the House 143-4 with 55 co-sponsors, but for some mysterious reason, never was brought to the Senate floor for a vote.

For the past six years here in Connecticut, there has been an average of 246,600 children per year from single-parent families. Just imagine these 246,600 children from non-intact families denied the right of visitation by their grandparents. This is a travesty. South Carolina set a precedent in 2014, with H.B. 4348, which is identical to the aforementioned Connecticut bills. It’s been making families healthy and happy again. Other states, such as Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, Maine, New York and New Jersey changed their laws, but continuing emotional-psychological abuse continues in Connecticut, as does opioid addiction, alienation, domestic violence and financial disaster.

Connecticut has made a mess of the family in contributing to these problems. Why don’t elected officials pass a grandparents rights law for a non-intact family and for foster care?

Emidio Cerasale