A Washington statute permitted any person to petition a superior court in the state for visitation rights at any time and authorized the court to grant such visitation rights whenever visitation might serve the best interest of the child. Jenifer and Gary Troxel (plaintiffs) petitioned a Washington Superior Court for the right to visit their paternal grandchildren after their son, the children’s father, committed suicide. Tommie Granville (defendant), the mother of these children, opposed the petition. The Washington Superior Court granted visitation rights to the Troxels, but the Washington Supreme Court reversed and held that the Washington statute unconstitutionally interfered with the fundamental rights of parents to rear their children. The United States Supreme Court granted certiorari.