Court skips parental rights case

A divided US Supreme Court has dropped from its docket a Delaware case that might have set a national standard for parental rights, reports Monitor correspondent Julia Malone.

With three dissenters, the Court March 9 said that the case, which had already been argued, did not properly present a federal question. In the case, Doe v. Delaware, parents who were also half-brother and sister had been declared "unfit" and had challenged the state's child-custody laws for being unconstitutionally vague.

The Supreme Court found that the case was a poor one for setting ground-breaking precedents on parents' rights. In the case, the parents no longer lived together, and the family had been separated for several years.

In other action the high court ruled that a trial judge must, if asked, instruct juries not to be prejudiced against a defendant who chooses not to testify. The decision overturned a Kentucky Supreme Court ruling in the case of a co nvicted burglar.

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