Family Law Prof Blog

Editor: Margaret Ryznar
Indiana University
Robert H. McKinney School of Law

Friday, January 15, 2021

Registration Open for Friday, Jan. 22 Fulton, Faith, Families and Foster Care

As its inaugural event, the UVA Family Law Center will host an online symposium examining Fulton v. City of Philadelphia, which was argued before the U.S. Supreme Court on Nov. 4. 

In the case, Catholic Social Services is challenging the City of Philadelphia’s refusal to refer foster children to Catholic Social Services because it will not certify same-sex couples as foster parents. 

“Fulton exposes fundamental conflicts between the states’ authority to prohibit discrimination, the right of religious groups to participate in public life, and our collective obligation to promote child welfare,” Family Law Center Director Naomi Cahn said. 

UVA Law professor Gregg Strauss, co-director of the center, added, “As the case illustrates, our public and private duty to help needy children has become the latest battleground in the fight between the liberty of religious citizens to participate in public life and the state’s obligation to prohibit discrimination against LGBTQIA citizens.”

Conference co-organizers Cahn, Strauss and UVA Law professor Micah Schwartzman ’05 will bring together a multidisciplinary group of scholars with varying perspectives, many of whom have filed amici briefs in the case.


Tentative Schedule

9-9:15 a.m.


  • Risa Goluboff, Dean, Arnold H. Leon Professor of Law, Professor of History, University of Virginia School of Law

9:15-10:45 a.m.

Panel 1 | What Are the Roles of Government and Private Citizens in Foster Care and Adoption?

  • Stephanie Barclay, Associate Professor of Law, Notre Dame Law School
  • Elizabeth D. Katz ’09, Associate Professor of Law, Washington University in St. Louis School of Law
  • Linda C. McClain, Robert Kent Professor of Law, Boston University School of Law
  • Catherine J. Ross, Fred C. Stevenson Research Professor, George Washington University Law School
  • CommentarySolangel Maldonado, Eleanor Bontecou Professor of Law, Seton Hall University School of Law; Serena Mayeri, Professor of Law and History, University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School
  • ModeratorMicah Schwartzman ’05, Hardy Cross Dillard Professor of Law; Director, Karsh Center for Law and Democracy; University of Virginia School of Law

11 a.m.-12:30 p.m.

Panel 2 | How Do Religious Rights for Adults Affect the Rights of Foster Children and Parents?

  • James Dwyer, Arthur B. Hanson Professor of Law, William & Mary Law School
  • Catherine E. Smith, Professor, Chauncey G. Wilson Memorial Research Chair, University of Denver Sturm College of Law
  • Robert W. Tuttle, David R. and Sherry Kirschner Berz Research Professor of Law and Religion, George Washington University Law School
  • Tanya Monique Washington, Professor of Law, Georgia State University College of Law
  • CommentaryElizabeth Bartholet, Morris Wasserstein Public Interest Professor of Law; Faculty Director, Child Advocacy Program; Harvard Law School; Elizabeth W. Sepper, Professor of Law, University of Texas at Austin School of Law
  • ModeratorGregg Strauss, Professor of Law; Co-Director, Family Law Center, University of Virginia School of Law

1:15-2:30 p.m.

Panel 3 | What Can Social Science Tell Us About How Discrimination Law in Foster Care and Adoption Affects Child Welfare?

  • Charlotte J. Patterson, Professor of Psychology and Women, Gender & Sexuality, University of Virginia
  • Nelson Tebbe, Jane M.G. Foster Professor of Law, Cornell Law School; Netta Barak-Corren, Associate Professor, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem Faculty of Law
  • Bianca D.M. Wilson, Rabbi Zacky Senior Scholar of Public Policy, Williams Institute, UCLA School of Law
  • CommentaryCraig Konnoth, Associate Professor of Law, University of Colorado Law School; Michael Higdon, Associate Dean for Faculty Development and Professor of Law, University of Tennessee College of Law
  • ModeratorRobert Emery, Professor of Psychology; Director, Center for Children Families and the Law; University of Virginia

2:45-4 p.m.

Panel 4 | What Is or Should Be the Future of Foster Care, Religion and LGBT Law?

  • Clare Huntington, Joseph M. McLaughlin Professor of Law, Fordham University School of Law
  • Robin Fretwell Wilson, Director, Institute of Government and Public Affairs; Mildred Van Voorhis Jones Chair in Law; Co-Director, Program in Family Law and Policy; Co-Director, Epstein Health Law and Policy Program; Professor, Department of Pathology, College of Medicine; University of Illinois
  • Jordan Woods, Associate Professor of Law, University of Arkansas School of Law
  • CommentaryCourtney G. Joslin, Martin Luther King Jr. Professor of Law, University of California at Davis School of Law; Jessica Dixon Weaver ’95, Robert G. Storey Distinguished Faculty Fellow, Gerald J. Ford Research Fellow, Associate Professor of Law, Southern Methodist University Dedman School of Law
  • ModeratorNaomi R. Cahn, Justice Anthony M. Kennedy Distinguished Professor of Law; Nancy L. Buc ’69 Research Professor in Democracy and Equity; Director, Family Law Center; University of Virginia School of Law

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