Rights vs Justice
I listened to this case yesterday as I was driving and I struggled to pinpoint what was wrong, Andrew Lilco points out what it is :
...the central principle that the welfare of the children is paramount. It was very likely to be in the best interests of the children that they stay with their new adoptive parents. Yet this principle is obviously wicked - consciously so, for it sets aside even the aspiration of being just. The notion that these parents should be denied the raising of their children just because they would be better off being raised by someone else is horrific.
Australia used to take children from Aborigines so they could be raised in environments in which the children would do better. One could imagine taking away the children of British unemployed teenage single mothers to give them to wealthy childless couples. I don't doubt that by any objective measure of life outcomes - qualifications, lifetime earnings, likelihood of falling to crime or drugs, likelihood of divorce, whatever you like - I have no doubt that on any objective measure of the welfare of children the children taken from Aborigines would have done better, and the children taken from teenage single mothers to give to wealthy childless couples would do better. But we rightly think that this practice in Australia was wicked, and we would rightly think that taking the children of teenage mothers in this way would be wicked - provided only that the parents were competent to raise their children. Setting aside justice in order to take paramount concern for the welfare of children is unjust...