Despite their ringing declarations about human rights, Meyer and Pierce were both formally decided largely on the basis of property rights -- the liberty of the schools to conduct a business, the right of private school teachers to follow their occupation, and the freedom of the schools and the parents to enter into contracts. Although the Court easily could have decided the cases on the bases of freedom of religion or freedom of speech, the Court had not yet incorporated any part of the Bill of Rights into state law, and it was not prepared to begin the process of incorporation in these cases.
Ross, William G.
"The Contemporary Significance of Meyer and Pierce for Parental Rights Issues Involving Education,"
Akron Law Review: Vol. 34
, Article 6.
Available at: http://ideaexchange.uakron.edu/akronlawreview/vol34/iss1/6