Judge Orders Woman To Remove ‘Racist’ Display Or Risk Losing Custody

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In a shocking move, a mother was told by a judge that the court would have to “reconsider” the custody of her daughter due to the “racist” display near her driveway.

Christie BB
The New York Supreme Court said that a mother’s custody may be revoked if she doesn’t remove a “racist” display from her yard. (Photo Credit: Screenshot)

For centuries, higher courts have generally understood and respected our First Amendment freedoms, interpreting the Constitution to protect even language that the majority would find offensive. However, just because our elected and appointed officials refrain from directly violating our constitutional rights doesn’t mean they can’t force us to self-censor by other methods.

In a legal case that’s sparked a national debate concerning the threshold separating individual liberty and judicial authority, an Upstate New York woman has found herself having to choose between her First Amendment rights or her child. Disturbingly, the case revolves around a simple display just outside of her home.

Christie BB
The display in question is a Confederate flag-painted rock. (Photo Credit: Provided)

According to The Washington Post, the New York Supreme Court ruled that a woman, identified only as Christie BB, must remove a Confederate flag-painted rock or risk losing custody of her young daughter. Appellate justices unanimously ruled 5-0 that if the woman fails to get rid of the display, she may have a “change in circumstances” in the custodial rights to her child.

On behalf of the court, Justice Stanley Pritzker wrote that, although the Confederate flag display is protected under the First Amendment, its continued presence would force the court to consider removing custody of the child from the mother either in part or in full. Judge Pritzker confirmed that it had to do with the child being biracial.

“Given that the child is of mixed race, it would seem apparent that the presence of the flag is not in the child’s best interests, as the mother must encourage and teach the child to embrace her mixed-race identity, rather than thrust her into a world that only makes sense through the tortured lens of cognitive dissonance,” wrote Pritzker, representing the Appellate Division of the state Supreme Court’s Third Department.

The court stated that Christie BB risks a “change in circumstances” to her custody of her daughter because the child is biracial. (Photo Credit: Pixabay)

Judge Pritzker appears to have concluded that Christie BB displayed the Confederate flag rock because of racial prejudice, but the evidence for such an assumption was not presented to the public. The rock became an issue during a fact-finding hearing but was never addressed by the child’s guardian ad litem or the family court.

Christie BB was involved in a custody battle.

While they share a child, the parents reportedly never married and were later ordered to have joint custody of the girl. The custody battle began after a judge ruled that the child should remain primarily in the mother’s home for schooling purposes. The father then appealed the decision, which was at risk of being overturned after the supreme court’s ruling.

“In response to questioning, the mother testified that she has never used any racial slurs in front of the child or at all,” the decision said.

The court added that the Confederate flag was “a symbol inflaming the already strained relationship” between the girl’s parents.

The court admitted that although it was the mother’s First Amendment right to display the painted rock, Christie BB risks her custodial rights if she continues to do so. (Photo Credit: Screenshot)

The court heard that the child has behavioral issues, including “kicking, spitting, hitting and swearing a lot.” However, the painted rock remained the focus of the hearing.

“Its continued presence shall constitute a change in circumstances and Family Court shall factor this into any future best interests analysis,” Pritzker said.

The child’s attorney, Jason Leifer, expressed his concern that the court’s ruling could make political views a target in family court and custody battles, in particular.

“I just think that this thing opens a door to litigating … someone’s personal opinions on something,” Leifer said to the outlet.

The ruling could pave the way for courts to remove children from parents who have certain political views. (Photo Credit: Screenshot)

Regardless of your opinion on the Confederate flag, it’s disturbing that a higher court would conclude that someone is hindered in their ability to parent their child because of their personal view on a historical relic.

If the court can threaten to take away your child for having a controversial opinion about the Confederate flag, who’s to say that they won’t do the same over certain political or social views.