Personal Freedom of Children
This chapter explores the concept of liberty in its traditional sense—that is, freedom from personal restraint—by examining attempts by states (or municipalities) to restrict individual freedom through imposition of curfews. It shows that the state's power to regulate the affairs of the individual is not absolute, as evidenced by Meyer v. Nebraska. But neither is the individual's right to personal freedom absolute, for the freedom of the individual is subject to restraint through imposition of a curfew in riot or emergency situations. In the absence of the latter kind of exigency, however, the state cannot impose an outright ban on use of the streets by adults. With regards to children, their peculiar vulnerability means that the state may constitutionally regulate the movement of children to a greater degree than it may in the case of adults. Such regulation, however, must be reasonable.
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