February 4, 2017
On January 26th, Erick Kaardal, local counsel for the Thomas More Society of Chicago, appeared before Judge Magnuson in St. Paul, Minnesota federal court, asking him to restore Anmarie Calgaro’s parental rights. In 2015, without notice and violating her civil right to due process, her then-15 year old son was unconstitutionally declared an adult. [See Minnesota Mom Sues Over Violation of Parental Rights and a short video summary here.] The Child Protection League provided support for this legal challenge.
Seven lawyers lined up against him. The defendants were the County, the Director of Public Health Services, the School District, the school Principal, and two private healthcare providers. And JDK, the now-17 year old minor son of Anmarie Calgaro, a “person of interest” in the case. He is listed as a defendant because he, too, has a right to be heard in court.
Contrary to the headlines, Anmarie Calgaro is not “suing” her son. He has not violated her due process constitutional rights, and he cannot “restore” her parental rights.
The lead attorney, Michael Ponto, is known as an expert in commercial and class action data security litigation and Fortune 500 companies’ real estate disputes. He also argues pro bono cases for national LGBT groups and for the militantly radical Southern Poverty Law Center. It turns out he is a big supporter of and fundraiser for, Mid-Minnesota Legal Aid, the nonprofit that crafted the error-filled letter in this case, declaring a minor to be an adult with no investigation of the facts and no notification to the legal parent.
Mr. Ponto seemed to be arguing a case for a teenager’s transgender rights. Judge Magnuson pointed out, however, that the case isn’t really about whether Anmarie Calgaro opposes or supports her son’s personal medical procedure. The case is about whether the state can constitutionally remove her parental rights without notification or court order.
In fact, Anmarie’s parental rights had been removed well before gender was an issue.
During the hearing Judge Magnuson described the importance of parental involvement in the life of a teenager. He remembered himself as a 16 year old, thinking his father was the most ignorant man on earth. But by the time he was 26, his father had become the wisest man he knew.
We’re never surprised when the news gets the story wrong. In this case, the false accusations written by the legal aid lawyer in his “emancipation letter” were reported by much of the media as fact, though every charge was untrue.
The judge asked the defendants a question they didn’t answer: why didn’t they simply get a court order of emancipation instead of dragging themselves through federal court? The fact is, the defendants know they may have been denied.
Judge Magnuson will issue his ruling within 30 to 60 days. Our sincere thanks to all who have so generously supported this effort.
This short video tells the story!
“Minnesota Mom Sues For Violation of Parental Rights.”