February 26, 2009
An editorial by Professor Naomi Cahn of George Washington University School of Law and Adam Pertman, executive director of the Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute discuss a new research-based report by the Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute, "Old Lessons for a New World," which suggests that it may be time for federal and state regulation of assisted reproduction. "The report points out that adoption and assisted reproductive technology have much in common as "nontraditional" means of forming families, and that adoption's far-longer history of research, experience and evidence-informed policies therefore could help to improve practices in the world of assisted reproduction."
February 25, 2009
Domestic Violence and the Family Pet
The legislature finds that considerable research shows a strong correlation between animal abuse, child abuse, and domestic violence. The legislature intends that perpetrators of domestic violence not be allowed to further terrorize and manipulate their victims, or the children of their victims, by using the threat of violence toward pets.
February 24, 2009
Case Law Update -- Domestic Violence -- Supreme Court
The Supreme Court released U.S. v. Hayes this morning. The issues and holding in the case are summarized in the first paragraph of Justice Ginsburg's 7-2 opinion:
"The federal Gun Control Act of 1968, 18 U. S. C. §921 et seq., has long prohibited possession of a firearm by any person convicted of a felony. In 1996, Congress extended the prohibition to include persons convicted of “a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence.” §922(g)(9). The definition of “misdemeanor crime of domestic violence,” contained in §921(a)(33)(A), is at issue in this case. Does that term cover a misdemeanor battery whenever the battered victim was in fact the offender’s spouse (or otherrelation specified in §921(a)(33)(A))? Or, to trigger thepossession ban, must the predicate misdemeanor identifyas an element of the crime a domestic relationship be-tween aggressor and victim? We hold that the domestic relationship, although it must be established beyond areasonable doubt in a §922(g)(9) firearms possession prosecution, need not be a defining element of the predi-cate offense."
February 22, 2009
Same-Sex Marriage Op-Ed
An interesting op-ed in the New York Times on same-sex marriage - - - and what makes it interesting is its authors:
David Blankenhorn is president of the Institute for American Values and the author of “The Future of Marriage.” Jonathan Rauch is a guest scholar at the Brookings Institution and the author of “Gay Marriage: Why It Is Good for Gays, Good for Straights and Good for America.”
The op-ed calls, predictably enough given its joint authorship, for a compromise:
clinging to extremes can also be quite dangerous. In the case of gay marriage, a scorched-earth debate, pitting what some regard as nonnegotiable religious freedom against what others regard as a nonnegotiable human right, would do great harm to our civil society. When a reasonable accommodation on a tough issue seems possible, both sides should have the courage to explore it.
Assigning students to research op-eds or read particular ones can bring current policy debates into our study of cases. And having law students write an op-ed - - - or perhaps two op-eds, one on each side - - - can be a great writing exercise and method of learning to articulate policy.