18 year-old New Jersey school girl Rachel Canning’s suit will fail in court and will succeed in ruining her family and that important part of her future. She may think she is the first one to think of such action, but she is far from it. There are not many of us that did not run away from home at some point in our lives to a sympathetic neighbor’s house trying to avoid family discipline. However, most of us do it at age three. This spoiled brat and her enabling and meddling adult friends are doing it at age 18.
While the Youth Courts of most states are charged with making sure parents do not neglect their children, this is not one of those cases and Rachel is going to lose. The New Jersey trial Judge correctly pondered if this type of suit was going to open the flood gates for suits by children to get particular presents from their parents. In 1919, a Mississippi Court said exactly the same thing in denying the suit of six children against their father, stating, “We are not opening the door of the courts to any unruly or disobedient child who may complain at either the amount or kind of support provided by a father. Rawlingsv. Rawlings, 121 Miss. 140, 148 (1919) This legal position has been back up in subsequent decisions, such as ones denying college support for children who refuse to have a relationship with the parent from whom they seek payment for the privilege.
One final query: children must normally bring suits through adults such as parents or guardians. Therefore, either Rachel is not legally competent to bring the suit on her own, or, if she believes she is legally competent to pursue legal relief without her parent’s consent, then she is surely emancipated enough to support herself, too.