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Father Seeking Visitation Rights Wears Nazi Uniform to Court

Last week we discussed an Illinois judge who, after being arrested on drug and firearms charges, ended up at a court hearing wearing cut-off jean shorts and a T-shirt bearing the slogan, "Bad is my middle name." Not the most appropriate ensemble, to be sure, but here (via Jonathan Turley) is the story of a litigant who took the concept of questionable courtroom attire to the extreme. A New Jersey man attended a family court hearing this week wearing a Nazi uniform. Yikes. On the other hand, the outfit did coordinate nicely with his Hitler-esque mustache and swastika tattoos.

Heath Campbell and his family gained notoriety in December 2008, when employees of a ShopRite supermarket refused to spell out the name of their 3-year-old son on a birthday cake. That name: Adolf Hitler Campbell. Heath Campbell said at at the time that he named his son after Adolf Hitler because "no one else in the world would have that name." Indeed. He said that those who would object to such a moniker "need to accept a name. A name's a name. The kid isn't going to grow up and do what (Hitler) did." And the Campbells stuck to the same theme in naming Adolf's siblings, JoyceLynn Aryan Nation and Honszlynn Hinler Jeannie.

The birthday cake flap (which Turley at the time called the "mein kake" controversy) prompted an investigation into the family by New Jersey's Division of Youth and Family Services. The Campbell children were taken into state custody in January 2009. A fourth child, Hons, was taken by the state just hours after his birth in November of 2011.

The Campbells have appealed unsuccessfully for the return of their children. Heath Campbell says that the couple has since separated and that the three older children have been adopted. At the hearing this week, Campbell was seeking visitation rights to the youngest son.

When the Campbell children were taken away from their parents, the parents claimed that the decision was based solely on the children's names. (Sadly, it seems the family's situation involves a number of other issues. The Hunterdon County Democrat has a full report on allegations of domestic abuse.)

However, Heath Campbell contends that he's been separated from his children simply because of his political beliefs. "Basically, what they're saying is because of my beliefs and I'm a Nazi, that us people don't have any constitutional rights to fight for our children," Campbell said.

The Jonathan Turley post posits that the case "raises a significant free speech issue. Most of us view this Nazi obsession to be weird and unbalanced. However, it is also a form of political expression."

As for the Nazi uniform, Campbell said he hoped a court wouldn't be influenced by his appearance. "If they're good judges and they're good people, they'll look within, not what's on the outside," he said.

Posted by Laurel Newby on June 5, 2013 at 04:39 PM | Permalink | Comments (5)

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