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2016

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

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Meyer, Pierce, And The History Of The Entire Human Race: Barbarism, Social Progress, And (The Fall And Rise Of) Parental Rights, Jeffrey Shulman Jan 2016

Meyer, Pierce, And The History Of The Entire Human Race: Barbarism, Social Progress, And (The Fall And Rise Of) Parental Rights, Jeffrey Shulman

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

Long before the Supreme Court’s seminal parenting cases took a due process Lochnerian turn, American courts had been working to fashion family law doctrine on the premise that parents are only entrusted with custody of the child, and then only as long as they meet their fiduciary duty to take proper care of the child. With its progressive, anti-patriarchal orientation, this jurisprudence was in part a creature of its time, reflecting the evolutionary biases of the emerging fields of sociology, anthropology, and legal ethnohistory. In short, the courts embraced the new, “scientific” view that social “progress” entails the decline ...