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Supreme Court of the United States

Romeike v. Holder

Last Updated 6/13/2022

What's at stake

  • The right of parents to freely educate their children at home
  • The right to live out one’s faith in all aspects of life
  • The right to asylum from religious persecution


German homeschooling parents, Uwe and Hannelore Romeike, faced loss of custody of their five children and potential jail time under a German government policy seeking to stamp out “parallel societies” by banning homeschooling. After fleeing to the U.S. following two years of legal threats in Germany, a U.S. immigration judge granted the family asylum in 2010, calling the policy “odd,” “silly,” and “utterly repellent to everything we believe as Americans.” Later, however, the Obama administration appealed the decision, and the appeal court overturned the judge’s original decision.

Alliance Defending Freedom represents a number of families in Germany in situations where children have been removed and parents have been imprisoned. The Romeikes clearly have an understandable fear of persecution. While Uwe agrees there is a fair amount of religious freedom in Germany, he says that the buck stops when it comes to homeschooling. He believes, “Germany wants to impose its worldview on children and does not want parents to form their children according to their own worldview – as it might be different to that of the German state.”

Alliance Defending Freedom and Schulunterricht zu Hause, a legal support group for German homeschooling families, submitted legal arguments with the U.S. Supreme Court asking to reinstate asylum for this persecuted German family. “Parents have the freedom and authority to make decisions regarding their own children’s education without undue government interference,” said Alliance Defending Freedom Chief Counsel Benjamin Bull. “The immigration court clearly recognized that the German policy of persecuting homeschooling families violates basic human rights. The Supreme Court should uphold that decision, reverse the 6th Circuit ruling, and allow the Romeikes to remain in the U.S. rather than face certain punishment in Germany simply for homeschooling their children.”

On March 3, 2014, the petition for certiorari was denied by the U.S. Supreme Court.

Our role in this case

Alliance Defending Freedom submitted legal arguments to the U.S. Supreme Court, petitioning the Court to reinstate asylum for this persecuted German family.

Legal Documents

{"docs": [{"Court": "AppellateCourt", "Title": "HSLDA’s Sixth Circuit appeal - BIA wrong, homeschooling is a human right", "FileName": "", "Date": "10/29/12 8:29:01 PM"}, {"Court": "AppellateCourt", "Title": "Sixth Circuit upholds U.S. BIA’s overturn of Romeikes’ asylum status", "FileName": "", "Date": "5/14/13 8:28:59 PM"}, {"Court": "TrialCourt", "Title": "Judge Burman’s opinion - asylum granted", "FileName": "", "Date": "1/26/10 8:28:59 PM"}, {"Court": "AppellateCourt", "Title": "U.S. BIA revokes Romeikes’ asylum status", "FileName": "", "Date": "5/4/12 8:28:59 PM"}, {"Court": "AppellateCourt", "Title": "HSLDA’s petition to Sixth Circuit for Romeike rehearing", "FileName": "", "Date": "5/28/13 8:28:59 PM"}, {"Court": "AppellateCourt", "Title": "U.S. Government’s brief - Homeschooling not a fundamental right", "FileName": "", "Date": "1/4/13 8:28:59 PM"}, {"Court": "SupremeCourt", "Title": "HSLDA’s petition to the U.S. Supreme Court", "FileName": "", "Date": "10/10/13 8:29:00 PM"}, {"Court": "AppellateCourt", "Title": "HSLDA’s reply - Government confuses equal persecution with equal protection", "FileName": "", "Date": "2/5/13 8:28:59 PM"}, {"Court": "SupremeCourt", "Title": "Friend-of-the-court brief", "FileName": "", "Date": "12/19/13 8:28:59 PM"}, {"Court": "SupremeCourt", "Title": "Government’s reply to HSLDA’s petition", "FileName": "", "Date": "1/21/14 8:29:00 PM"}, {"Court": "SupremeCourt", "Title": "HSLDA's reply brief", "FileName": "'s-reply-brief.pdf", "Date": "1/29/14 8:29:00 PM"}]}

Additional Resources


German TV interview with Romeike family from July 2009