Monday, September 29, 2008

Call for Papers

Writing on Domestic Violence?  Juvenile Justice?  Sex Offenses?  Focused on NYC? 

New York City Law Review: A Call for Papers
The Legal System’s Response to Violence in New York City

The New York City Law Review -- a student-run law journal based out of the City University of New York School of Law – is currently seeking papers for our Spring 2009 symposium on the legal system’s response to violent behavior.  With a particular emphasis on violent behavior within New York City, we will critically explore the increase in criminalization, mandatory arrests, and zero tolerance policies through four panels on the areas of domestic violence, sex offenses, juvenile justice, and police brutality.  We will be highlighting progressive legal responses within the present legal system, as well as ideas for new responses both within and without the legal framework.

The symposium will take place on February 13, 2009 at the Borough of Manhattan Community College. 

If you are interested in submitting a paper, please email
[email protected]
by November 1, 2008 with your name, school or organizational affiliation, and an abstract of no more than 250 words describing your article.  Selected authors may be invited to serve as panelists at the symposium.  Selected articles will be published in the spring of 2009.  All completed articles must be submitted by January 1, 2009.

(RR September 29, 2008)

September 29, 2008 in Child Abuse, Domestic Violence | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Conference Announcement

The Center for Children, Law & Policy announces

Child Centered Jurisprudence and Feminist Jurisprudence: Exploring The Connections And The Tensions

Friday, November 14, 2008 @ the University of Houston Law Center

View Conference Announcement

Featured Speakers

§      Prof. Annette Ruth Appell, Associate Dean of Clinical Affairs and Professor of Law, Washington University School of Law
§      Prof. Martha Albertson Fineman, Robert W. Woodruff Professor of Law, Emory University School of Law
§      Prof. Martin Guggenheim, Fiorello LaGuardia Professor of Clinical Law, New York University School of Law
§      Prof. Angela P. Harris, Professor of Law; Executive Committee Member, Center for Social Justice, Boalt Hall, UC Berkeley
§       Prof. Barbara Bennett Woodhouse, David H. Levin Chair in Family Law and Director of the Center on Children and Families at Levin College of Law, University of Florida
§       With Commentary by Prof. Ellen Marrus, Co-Director, Center for Children, Law & Policy, George Butler Research Professor of Law, University of Houston Law Center, Prof. Laura Oren, Co-Director, Center for Children, Law & Policy, Law Foundation Professor of Law, University of Houston Law Center

Conference Details

§      Date: Friday, November 14th, 2008
§      Location: University of Houston Law Center
§      Event Time: 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
§      Registration Cost: Pre-Registration $25, after November 1st increased to $50.
§      CLE: 2.75 Hours

More details at website here.

(RR September 27, 2008).

September 27, 2008 in Child Abuse, Custody (parenting plans), Termination of Parental Rights, Visitation | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, September 26, 2008

Scholarship: "Sex Offender Registration in Indian Country"

VIRGINIA DAVIS, National Congress of American Indians, and  KEVIN K. WASHBURN, University of Arizona - James E. Rogers College of Law have authored "Sex Offender Registration in Indian Country" forthcoming in Ohio State Journal of Criminal Law.  They have posted the abstract on SSRN:

Congress was first confronted with the issue of sex offender registration following an incident at a BIA Indian school on the Hopi reservation after a BIA school teacher was convicted of molesting 142 Indian boys during a six-year period in the 1980s. The case, which resulted in a criminal conviction and a $50 million civil settlement, left a scar on the national consciousness. Despite this history, Congress all but ignored the needs of Indian victims and Indian tribes when it enacted the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act as part of the Adam Walsh Act, mandating sex offender registration nationally. This essay criticizes this legislation and the undeliberative and unconsultative process that produced it. It concludes that the legislation might have been far more effective in dealing with sex crimes victimization on Indian reservations if Congress had embraced tribes as equal partners with states in implementing the law's provisions. In the end, the law is likely to help least the very people who suffer from sex crimes the most. This tragedy could have been averted with a more thoughtful approach and greater recognition of the nuances of jurisdiction and insititutional capacity in Indian country.

(RR September 26, 2008).

September 26, 2008 in Child Abuse | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

South Africa: Virginity Testing and the Constitution

From The Washington Post:

The debate over virginity testing is an example of the clash common throughout Africa as governments try to regulate traditional practices that have long held sway, particularly in rural areas. Legal experts say the topic is particularly complex in post-apartheid South Africa, where patriarchal tribal cultures have dusted off long-stifled traditions under one of the world's most progressive constitutions, which lauds diversity but requires cultural customs to bend to individual rights.

Read the rest of the article here.  (RR last visited September 26, 2008).

September 26, 2008 in International | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Research Sources

Bibliographies - - - especially annotated ones - - - are a great source for professors for scholarship and teaching, as well as a great source for practitioners.  Here are a few published in 2008:

Nancy Levit, Family Law In The Twenty-First Century: An Annotated Bibliography, 21 J. Am. Acad. Matrim. Law. 271 -388  (2008).
More than one hundred pages of sources from 2002-2008, organized by subtopics, and providing brief parenthetical explanations if the subject is not obvious from the title.

Sarah Valentine, Queer Kids: A Comprehensive Annotated Legal Bibliography On Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, And Questioning Youth, 19 Yale J.L. & Feminism 449 – 493 (2008).
A gathering and assessment of law review and selected other articles and books concerning sexual minority youth in all aspects of family law.

ANNUAL Bibliographical updates are also extremely useful.

The annual bibliography by the Family LawProf Blog's own Nancy Ver Steeg is the Annual Survey of Periodical Literature, 40 Fam. L. Q. 753 - 798 (2007).  It is especially attentive to "hot topics."

The annual bibliography on conflict of laws in American Journal of Comparative Law is useful.  The most recent is compiled by Symeon Symeonides, Conflict of Laws Bibliography: US Sources, 2006-2007, 56 Am. J. Comp. L. 321- 329 (2008).  It is not annotated or organized by topic, but a quick search for terms such as “family” or “adoption” is useful.

Another annual bibliography is The Annotated Legal Bibliography on Gender in Cardozo Journal of Law and Gender.  The most recent is at 14 Cardozo J. L. & Gender 459 – 517 (2008).  It has annotations and is subdivided by topic, including topics on “Family,” “Domestic Violence,” “Marriage,” “Parenting,” “Children,” and “Abortion.”


Here are three additional sources provided by a kind reader who researches in family law: (*1) American Journal of Family Law (Since Fall 2007, issues have included annotated bibliography of recent articles, organized by subject) (*2) Georgetown Journal of Gender & the Law (Annual Review of Gender & Sexuality Law) (*3) Online supplement to Sexual Orientation and the Law: A Research Bibliography of Legal Literature . . .: an annotated bibliography of law review articles by subject, including family law ( (MR)

September 17, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)


Working on a paper about family law & feminist implications?

CFP: Applied Feminism:  How Feminist Legal Theory is Changing the Law

This call for papers seeks submissions for the University of Baltimore School of Law’s Second Annual Feminist Legal Theory Conference.  The conference will be held at the University of Baltimore on Friday, March 6, 2009.  The conference will bring together law students, legal academics, practitioners and activists to explore the concrete ways in which feminist legal theory is (or is not) changing the law.

This conference will look at discrete areas of the law and ask how feminist legal theory operates or could operate to expand existing law, create new law, or combat contractions in the law.  This conference will address these issues from the perspectives of activists, practitioners and academics.  The conference will provide an opportunity for participants and audience members to exchange ideas about the current state of feminist legal theory by looking at how those theories are being actualized in practice and in specific areas of the law.  From the conference, we hope to further the discourse about the future of feminist legal theory and its practical applications to the law.  In addition, the conference is designed to provide presenters with the opportunity to gain extensive feedback on their papers.
The format of the papers is flexible in order to encourage academics, law students and practitioners to participate.  Papers should address the themes discussed above and could focus on the following subject areas:  sex, sexuality and gender; education; family law; employment law; poverty and welfare law; civil rights law; bioethics; immigration; international human rights; reproductive justice; criminal law; and women and politics.  We encourage papers that explore the intersectionality of gender, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, disability, class, and/or age.

Abstracts for the papers should be sent by October 17, 2008 to Leigh Goodmark ([email protected]).  Abstracts should be no longer than one page.  Abstracts for the papers selected to be presented at the conference will be posted on the website and distributed to all presenters and attendees.   Working drafts of papers are due no later than February 13, 2009.  The working drafts will be posted on the conference website to be shared with other participants and attendees.  Materials from last year’s conference can be viewed on our website at Finally, please note that a limited amount of money may be available to presenters for travel expenses.


September 17, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (1)

Monday, September 15, 2008

Texas FLDS Update: Ongoing Problems for State, Amidst Widespread Discovery Violations and Dismissal of "More Than Half" of Seized Children's Cases

Texas Child Protective Services "wants a do-over," according to the Deseret News.  Employing a metaphor from the world of golf, a Texas Child Protective Services attorney admitted that the State had failed to provide discovery materials to lawyers for parents involved in the remaining cases, and asked the Court to grant the state a "mulligan."  The News also reported that as of September 5, Texas authorities had dismissed "more than half" of the dependency cases of children seized from the Fundamentalist Latter Day Saints Yearning For Zion ranch.  (last visited by MIF 09-15-08)

September 15, 2008 in Child Abuse | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (3)

Saturday, September 13, 2008

DC Foster Care Alleged In Contempt of Federal Court Order

Plaintiffs in LaShawn A. v. Fenty, the long-running federal court class-action case involving the District of Columbia's Child and Family Services Agency, have filed a contempt motion, alleging widespread violations of the Court's 1993 modified Final Order and 2007 Amended Implementation Plan.  Read the Motion and other case documents here and the District's opposition to the motion here: Download d_c_response_to_contempt_motion.pdf  (last visited MIF 09-13-08)

September 13, 2008 in Child Abuse | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (2)

Friday, September 12, 2008

Red State/ Blue State Conference

The University of Missouri Kansas City School of Law is hosting “Red State v. Blue State: The Judicial Role in an Era of Partisanship” and family law is taking center stage in the presentations.  The program has been put together by family law Professor June Carbone, the Edward A. Smith/Missouri Chair of Law, the Constitution and Society at the UMKC School of Law. “We have planned the conference to drive home the point that partisan divisions affect the gamut of cases, from high profile cases on abortion to the more numerous family law disputes on custody and cohabitation,” said Carbone, who is coordinating the conference.

Reynols_2  Professor Suzanne Reynolds of Wake Forest University School of Law and candidate for the North Carolina Supreme Court, presented the keynote speech. Reynolds drafted statutes that modernized alimony and adoption law, and she co-founded a domestic violence program that the American Bar Association recognized for providing legal assistance to the poor.  Her keynote called for more research on the role of public financing of judicial elections in preserving judicial independence.

The morning panel, moderated by Professor Mary Kay Kisthardt of the University of Missouri Kansas City, began with a presentation by Professor Vivian Hamilton, of William and Mary Marshall-Wythe School of Law, who framed the divergent values in family law as having their roots in biblical naturalism and liberal individualism.  Her thesis was that each of these frames were flawed frameworks for family law decisionmaking.  Professors Naomi Cahn of George Washington University Law School and June Carbone Linda C. McClain then presented their research on Red Families/Blue Families.  They describe the "red family" framework in which the unity of sex, marriage and procreation is central and the "blue family" framework which supports deferred childbearing and diverse family forms. Their article argues that "the moral and symbolic conflicts between the two systems underlie the intensity of the increasing partisanship in U.S. politics which, in turn, may undermine the legitimacy of the judicial role. Cultural anxiety about changing family patterns combined with the strategic exploitation of these concerns for partisan advantage makes family issues an increasingly salient part of the political landscape. This poses challenges to the judicial role in resolving not only hot button issues such as abortion, but more prosaic individual family law cases."  Finally Professor Linda C. McCain,  professor at the Boston University School of Law contrasted the Carbone/Cahn theory with that of Richard Dworkin in his new book "Is Democracy Possible Here?" and found traces of both theories in the recent California Supreme Court decision finding prohibition of same-sex marriage unconstitutional.  Your blogger Barb Glesner Fines provided commentary on the panel in terms of question about how the ideas presented in the program impacted family law teaching.

September 12, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Case Law Development: Florida's "Homosexual" Adoption Ban

A Florida Circuit Court judge in Key West has allowed a gay man to adopt a child and has declared unconstitutional a portion of Florida Statute section 63.042  that provides "No person eligible to adopt under this statute may adopt if that person is a homosexual." 

That's the same statutory provision that was upheld against constitutional challenge by the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals in Lofton v. Secretary of Dept. of Children and Family Services, 358 F.3d 804 (11th Cir. 2004), with the en banc Eleventh Circuit declining to reconsider the opinion, with concurring and dissenting opinions  in Lofton v. Secretary of Dept. of Children and Family Services, 377 F.3d 1275 (11th Cir. 2004).

Judge David Audlin's 67 page opinion in In the Matter of the Adoption of John Doe is available as a pdf file here.

RR (September 12, 2008).

September 12, 2008 in Adoption | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

This is news?: Money Matters in Marriage

From the New York Times (the financial section) is this insight:

"Today, while most of us marry for romantic reasons, marriage at its core is still a financial union."

The link  to the article is here. 

In an article last month, the NYT revealed that health benefits can inspire marriage or divorce:

"More than romance, the couple readily acknowledge, it is [his] Blue Cross/Blue Shield HMO policy that is driving their rush to the altar."

The link to the article is here.

(RR last visited September 10, 2008).

September 10, 2008 in Marriage (impediments) | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Missouri Supreme Court Approves Collaborative Law Practice

The Missouri Supreme Court recently issued a formal ethics opinion approving collaborative law practice.  Missouri joins the majority of states having addressed the issue.  The formal opinion (one of only six issued since 1996) concluded that, as a type of limited scope representation, collaborative practice requires informed consent by the clients.  On the issue of conflict of interest between attorney and client, the court concluded that the tension between the attorney's interests in continuing in a case and the client's interest in abandoning the collaborative process is little different from other situations in which an attorney must choose to put his or her client's interest first.

The court concluded, "The potential that individual attorneys may violate the duty of loyalty, from time to time, does not make the practice generally unethical, as long it is reasonable to believe that the vast majority of attorneys will fulfill their ethical obligations. In the context of collaborative law, the tension between the interests is not unreasonable."

Read the Missouri Formal Opinion 124 online (last visited September 9, 2009 bgf)
For an article summarizing the ethical issues and positions on collaborative law practice, see Barbara Glesner Fines, The Ethics of Collaborative Lawyering, Journal of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, Vol. 21, p. 141, 2008 Available online at SSRN (last visited September 10, bgf)

September 9, 2008 in Attorneys | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (1)

Friday, September 5, 2008

Teen Pregnancy: Op Ed by Family Law Professors

An interesting op-ed by two Family Law Prof colleagues, June Carbone of University of Missouri-Kansas City and Naomi Cahn of George Washington University, in, from St. Louis.

Carbone and Cahn argue:

Bristol Palin's pregnancy illustrates that there are many ways to help teen
mothers and that there are many areas in which the red/blue partisan divide
could be reduced. No one in the blue states wants her to have an abortion if
she opposes it. What we should be able to agree on is to teach our daughters
science, and that means comprehensive sex education that stresses the
advantages of abstinence and delaying sex until the couple is sufficiently
mature, but also explains how to protect against pregnancy and sexually
transmitted disease if one does have sex. We should be able to agree on
promoting adoption as an alternative for mothers to consider. We should be able
to agree on providing high-quality childcare to those single mothers who choose
to continue their education instead of entering into shotgun marriages. The
Palins may have the resources to secure their daughter's future, but for most
of the rest of the population, teen pregnancies and teen marriage secure only
cycles of poverty.

The full piece is available here.   

(RR last visited September 5, 2008).

September 5, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (1)

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Case Law Development: New York court upholds Executive Order to recognize out-of-state same-sex marriages

A judge in New York has upheld the Executive Order of New York Governor David Paterson requiring government agencies to recognize same-sex marriages performed outside the state. 
The opinion in Golden v. Paterson is available as a pdf file here.
The New York Times story is here.
(RR last visited September 3, 2008).

September 3, 2008 in Marriage (impediments) | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)