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Pragmatic Family Law, Clare Huntington Jan 2023

Pragmatic Family Law, Clare Huntington

Faculty Scholarship

Family law is a central battleground for a polarized America, with seemingly endless conflict over abortion, parental control of school curricula, gender-affirming health care for children, and similar flash points. This is hardly surprising for an area of law that implicates fundamental concerns about equality, bodily autonomy, sexual liberty, gender norms, parenting, and religion. Polarization poses significant risks to children and families, but centering contestation obscures another important reality. In many areas of doctrine and policy, family law has managed to avoid polarization, even for politically and socially combustible issues. Instead, states are converging on similar rules and policies, working …


Tributes To Family Law Scholars Who Helped Us Find Our Path, Ann Laquer Estin, Melissa Murray, June Carbone, Barbara A. Atwood, Paul M. Kurtz, J. Thomas Oldham, Bruce M. Smyth, Brian H. Bix, Elizabeth S. Scott, R.A. Lenhardt, Jessica Dixon Weaver, Solangel Maldonado, Sacha M. Coupet Jan 2022

Tributes To Family Law Scholars Who Helped Us Find Our Path, Ann Laquer Estin, Melissa Murray, June Carbone, Barbara A. Atwood, Paul M. Kurtz, J. Thomas Oldham, Bruce M. Smyth, Brian H. Bix, Elizabeth S. Scott, R.A. Lenhardt, Jessica Dixon Weaver, Solangel Maldonado, Sacha M. Coupet

Faculty Scholarship

At some point after the virus struck, I had the idea that it would be appropriate and interesting to ask a number of experienced family law teachers to write a tribute about a more senior family law scholar whose work inspired them when they were beginning their careers. I mentioned this idea to some other long-term members of the professoriate, and they agreed that this could be a good project.

So I reached out to some colleagues and asked them to participate. Many agreed to join the team. Some suggested other potential contributors, and some of these suggested faculty members …


The Institutions Of Family Law, Clare Huntington Jan 2022

The Institutions Of Family Law, Clare Huntington

Faculty Scholarship

Family law scholarship is thriving, with scholars using varied methodologies to analyze intimate partner violence, cohabitation, child maltreatment, juvenile misconduct, and child custody, to name but a few areas of study. Despite the richness of this discourse, however, most family law scholars ignore a key tool deployed in virtually every other legal-academic domain: institutional analysis. This methodology, which plays a foundational role in legal scholarship, focuses on four basic questions. Scholars often begin empirically, identifying the specific legal, social, and economic institutions that shape an area of legal regulation. Beyond descriptive accounts, scholars analyze how authority is and should be …


Moral Economies Of Family Reunification In The Trump Era: Translating Natural Affiliation, Autonomy, And Stability Arguments Into Constitutional Rights, Kerry Abrams, Daniel Pham Jan 2022

Moral Economies Of Family Reunification In The Trump Era: Translating Natural Affiliation, Autonomy, And Stability Arguments Into Constitutional Rights, Kerry Abrams, Daniel Pham

Faculty Scholarship

No abstract provided.


In Defense Of Empiricism In Family Law, Elizabeth S. Scott Jan 2020

In Defense Of Empiricism In Family Law, Elizabeth S. Scott

Faculty Scholarship

It is fitting to include an essay defending the application of empirical research to family law and policy in a symposium honoring the scholarly career of Peg Brinig, who is probably the leading empiricist working in family law. While such a defense might seem unnecessary, given the expanding role of behavioral, social, and biological research in shaping the regulation of children and families, prominent scholars recently have raised concerns about the trend toward reliance on empirical science in this field. A part of the criticism is directed at the quality of the science itself and at the lack of sophistication …


Conceptualizing Legal Childhood In The Twenty-First Century, Clare Huntington, Elizabeth S. Scott Jan 2020

Conceptualizing Legal Childhood In The Twenty-First Century, Clare Huntington, Elizabeth S. Scott

Faculty Scholarship

The law governing children is complex, sometimes appearing almost incoherent. The relatively simple framework established in the Progressive Era, in which parents had primary authority over children, subject to limited state oversight, has broken down over the past few decades. Lawmakers started granting children some adult rights and privileges, raising questions about their traditional status as vulnerable, dependent, and legally incompetent beings. As children emerged as legal persons, children’s rights advocates challenged the rationale for parental authority, contending that robust parental rights often harm children. And a wave of punitive reforms in response to juvenile crime in the 1990s undermined …


Childcare, Vulnerability, And Resilience, Meredith Johnson Harbach Jan 2019

Childcare, Vulnerability, And Resilience, Meredith Johnson Harbach

Law Faculty Publications

The question of how to provide care for America’s youngest children, and the quality of that care, is among the most vexed for family law. Despite seismic demographic shifts in work and family, childcare law and policy in the United States still operates on the assumption that childcare is the private responsibility of parents and families rather than a state concern. But this private childcare model, based on unrealistic assumptions in liberal theory and buttressed by an ascendant neoliberalism, is inadequate to today’s childcare challenges. This project confronts the inadequacies of the private childcare model. Using Martha Albertson Fineman’s Vulnerability …


The Empirical Turn In Family Law, Clare Huntington Jan 2018

The Empirical Turn In Family Law, Clare Huntington

Faculty Scholarship

Historically, the legal system justified family law’s rules and policies through morality, common sense, and prevailing cultural norms. In a sharp departure, and consistent with a broader trend across the legal system, empirical evidence increasingly dominates the regulation of families.

There is much to celebrate in this empirical turn. Properly used, empirical evidence in family law can help the state act more effectively and efficiently, unmask prejudice, and depoliticize contentious battles. But the empirical turn also presents substantial concerns. Beyond perennial issues of the quality of empirical evidence and the ability of legal actors to use it, there are more …


No More Blood, Kerry Abrams Jan 2018

No More Blood, Kerry Abrams

Faculty Scholarship

No abstract provided.


Family Law's Exclusions, Clare Huntington Jan 2018

Family Law's Exclusions, Clare Huntington

Faculty Scholarship

As Fordham Law School commemorates the hundredth anniversary of women in its ranks, the school is also acknowledging the ways it has excluded women. For this special Issue celebrating scholarship by the women of Fordham, I see a similar theme echoing in my work. From my first article, published soon after I graduated from law school, through my most recent work, I have identified and explored the exclusions riddling family law.


Family Law And Female Empowerment, Andrea B. Carroll Jan 2017

Family Law And Female Empowerment, Andrea B. Carroll

Journal Articles

No abstract provided.


The Law Of Nonmarriage, Albertina Antognini Jan 2017

The Law Of Nonmarriage, Albertina Antognini

Law Faculty Scholarly Articles

The meaning of marriage, and how it regulates intimate relationships, has been at the forefront of recent scholarly and public debates. Yet despite the attention paid to marriage—especially in the wake of Obergefell v. Hodges—a record number of people are not marrying. Legal scholarship has mostly neglected how the law regulates these nonmarital relationships. This Article begins to fill the gap. It does so by examining how courts distribute property at the end of a relationship that was nonmarital at some point. This inquiry provides a descriptive account to a poorly understood and largely under-theorized area of the law. …


Family Reunification And The Security State, Kerry Abrams Jan 2017

Family Reunification And The Security State, Kerry Abrams

Faculty Scholarship

No abstract provided.


The Place Of Flourishing Families, Nestor M. Davidson, Clare Huntington Jan 2017

The Place Of Flourishing Families, Nestor M. Davidson, Clare Huntington

Faculty Scholarship

Legal scholars have produced a rich literature exploring how law shapes cities. These scholars have examined the authority and autonomy of municipal governments, the nature of urban community, and the geography of inequality. Another set of legal scholars has produced an equally rich literature exploring how law shapes families. These scholars have analyzed how marriage laws systematically disadvantage African Americans and other marginalized groups, how family law reinforces conceptions of traditional families, and how the absence of marriage equality led courts to recognize functional parents.

These discourses rarely overlap. Until this Colloquium. We brought together a range of scholars from …


Moore Kinship: Foreword, R.A. Lenhardt, Clare Huntington Jan 2017

Moore Kinship: Foreword, R.A. Lenhardt, Clare Huntington

Faculty Scholarship

Forty years ago, Mrs. Inez Moore, a widowed black mother and grandmother of little means, secured a victory that likely seemed improbable to many. Without any money, but with the assistance of a team of dedicated Legal Aid attorneys, she took her lawsuit challenging an East Cleveland, Ohio, zoning ordinance that made it a crime for her to live with her grandson all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court and won. The ordinance permitted certain extended family configurations to reside together within the city’s limits, but it prohibited Inez’s family arrangement. Just by bringing her infant grandson John Jr., …


(Mis)Recognizing Polygamy, Kerry Abrams Jan 2016

(Mis)Recognizing Polygamy, Kerry Abrams

Faculty Scholarship

No abstract provided.


On Family Law Localism: A Comment On Sean Hannon Williams's Sex In The City, Richard Briffault Jan 2016

On Family Law Localism: A Comment On Sean Hannon Williams's Sex In The City, Richard Briffault

Faculty Scholarship

In his Article “Sex in the City,” Professor Sean Hannon Williams addresses the problems of enormous trial court discretion and concomitant unpredictable and inconsistent decisions found in divorce cases by proposing that local governments adopt nonbinding “rules of thumb” that would guide judges in exercising that discretion with respect to issues such as child custody, property division, and income support. He contends that this proposal would fit within the existing legal framework of state-local relations and would advance the goals of both family law reform and local empowerment with respect to family issues. Specifically, he urges that local legislative action …


Reflections On Obergefell And The Family-Recognition Framework's Continuing Value, Suzanne B. Goldberg Jan 2016

Reflections On Obergefell And The Family-Recognition Framework's Continuing Value, Suzanne B. Goldberg

Faculty Scholarship

Unlike a typical law review essay, I offer reflections here based largely on my own past work in LGBT rights advocacy. Together with related scholarship, I rely on these experiences to argue that the 'family recognition" framework underlying earlier advocacy has value going forward, even after the Supreme Court's ruling in favor of nationwide marriage equality.


Obergefell'S Conservatism: Reifying Familial Fronts, Clare Huntington Jan 2015

Obergefell'S Conservatism: Reifying Familial Fronts, Clare Huntington

Faculty Scholarship

I am delighted with the result in Obergefell v. Hodges, but I am unhappy with the Court’s reasoning. In lieu of a straightforward, and far more defensible, decision based purely on the Equal Protection Clause, Justice Kennedy’s reliance on the Due Process Clause is deeply problematic.

A substantive due process analysis required the Court to define marriage and explain its social importance. This meant the Court had to choose between competing images — social fronts — of marriage. If it had used an equal protection analysis, the Court would not have had to decide whether marriage is traditional or …


Postmarital Family Law: A Legal Structure For Nonmarital Families, Clare Huntington Jan 2015

Postmarital Family Law: A Legal Structure For Nonmarital Families, Clare Huntington

Faculty Scholarship

Family law is based on marriage, but family life increasingly is not. The American family is undergoing a seismic shift, with marriage rates steadily declining and more than four in ten children now born to unmarried parents. Children of unmarried parents fall far behind children of married parents on a variety of metrics, contributing to stark inequality among children. Poverty and related factors explain much of this differential, but new sociological evidence highlights family structure — particularly friction and dislocation between unmarried parents after their relationship ends — as a crucial part of the problem. As the trend toward nonmarital …


Family Unity Revisited: Divorce, Separation, And Death In Immigration Law, Albertina Antognini Oct 2014

Family Unity Revisited: Divorce, Separation, And Death In Immigration Law, Albertina Antognini

Law Faculty Scholarly Articles

Families are integral to immigration law and policy, and family-based immigration accounts for the majority of legal entry into the United States. Legislative, judicial, and scholarly discussions that address immigration law's family-based categories rely nearly exclusively on the principle of family unification, which has long been a cornerstone policy of immigration law. Yet the family-based provisions of immigration law do more than unify intact families; understanding families as dynamic entities that experience change reveals an immigration system that acknowledges a flexible family structure in determining status.

The principal aim of this Article is to present a more complete description of …


Is Japan Ready To Legalize Same-Sex Marriage?, Yuki Arai Jan 2014

Is Japan Ready To Legalize Same-Sex Marriage?, Yuki Arai

Cornell Law School LL.M. Student Research Papers

Marriage is one of the most significant stages in one’s life. For many decades, gays and lesbians have been excluded from the legal institution of marriage solely because of their sexual orientation. However, the situation concerning same-sex marriage has drastically changed in many societies including the U.S. in the past several years. This recent wave of the opening of same-sex marriage has yet to reach my home country, Japan. In Japanese society where no religion opposing to same-sex activity is influential, gays and lesbians have not been persecuted criminally or religiously, which caused the absence of gay and lesbian rights …


Immigration's Family Values, Kerry Abrams, R. Kent Piacenti Jan 2014

Immigration's Family Values, Kerry Abrams, R. Kent Piacenti

Faculty Scholarship

No abstract provided.


Testing The Boundaries Of Family Privacy: The Special Case Of Pediatric Sibling Transplants, Doriane Lambelet Coleman Jan 2014

Testing The Boundaries Of Family Privacy: The Special Case Of Pediatric Sibling Transplants, Doriane Lambelet Coleman

Faculty Scholarship

A six-year-old girl suffers third-degree burns over eighty percent of her body. Her chance of survival with minimal scarring is said to depend on her identical twin sister’s availability as an organ source. There are other transplant options—including the parents—but because the twins’ skin is “equivalent,” a “sibling transplant” is likely to result in a better medical and aesthetic outcome for the burned twin. Her doctor thus proposes to harvest her healthy sister’s skin on “her backside from her bra line down to the bottom of her buttocks or possibly her thighs.” This procedure would be repeated up to three …


The Child-Welfare System And The Limits Of Determinacy, Clare Huntington Jan 2014

The Child-Welfare System And The Limits Of Determinacy, Clare Huntington

Faculty Scholarship

To read Robert Mnookin’s seminal 1975 article, Child-Custody Adjudication: Judicial Functions in the Face of Indeterminacy, is to see a blueprint for legislative action. To a remarkable degree, the reforms Mnookin proposed to the child-welfare system are what Congress and the states adopted in the following two decades. And yet reading Mnookin’s article is also a Groundhog Day experience. The problems he described with the child-welfare system nearly forty years ago sound all too familiar today.

Mnookin famously argued that the best-interests standard was indeterminate in the context of the child-welfare system. According to Mnookin, this open-ended standard created …


From Citizenship To Custody: Unwed Fathers Abroad And At Home, Albertina Antognini Jul 2013

From Citizenship To Custody: Unwed Fathers Abroad And At Home, Albertina Antognini

Law Faculty Scholarly Articles

The sex-based distinctions of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) have been remarkably resilient in the face of numerous equal protection challenges. In Miller v. Albright, Nguyen v. INS, and most recently United States v. Flores-Villar — collectively the "citizenship transmission cases" — the Supreme Court has upheld the constitutionality of the INA’s provisions that require unwed fathers, but not unwed mothers, to take a series of affirmative steps in order to transmit citizenship to their children born abroad.

The conventional account of these citizenship transmission cases is that the Court upholds sex-based distinctions that would otherwise fail …


Family History: Inside And Out, Kerry Abrams Jan 2013

Family History: Inside And Out, Kerry Abrams

Faculty Scholarship

No abstract provided.


Globalization And Law: Law Beyond The State, Ralf Michaels Jan 2013

Globalization And Law: Law Beyond The State, Ralf Michaels

Faculty Scholarship

The chapter provides an introduction into law and globalization for sociolegal studies. Instead of treating globalization as an external factor that impacts the law, globalization and law are here viewed as intertwined. I suggest that three types of globalization should be distinguished—globalization as empirical phenomenon, globalization as theory, and globalization as ideology. I go on to discuss one central theme of globalization, namely in what way society, and therefore law, move beyond the state. This is done along the three classical elements of the state—territory, population/citizenship, and government. The role of all of these elements is shifting, suggesting we need …


Staging The Family, Clare Huntington Jan 2013

Staging The Family, Clare Huntington

Faculty Scholarship

For many critical aspects of family life, all the world truly is a stage. When a parent scolds a child on the playground, all eyes turn to watch and judge. When an executive’s wife hosts a work party, the guests are witness to traditional gender roles. And when two fathers attend a back-to-school night for their child, other parents take note of this relatively new family configuration. Family is popularly considered intimate and personal, but in reality much of family life is lived in the public eye.

These performances of family and familial roles do not simply communicate messages to …


In Search Of Parity: Child Custody/Visitation And Child Support For Lesbian Couples Under “Companion” Cases Debra H. And In Re H.M., Jason C. Beekman May 2011

In Search Of Parity: Child Custody/Visitation And Child Support For Lesbian Couples Under “Companion” Cases Debra H. And In Re H.M., Jason C. Beekman

Cornell Law School J.D. Student Research Papers

The United States is engaged in a national debate over whether to grant same-sex couples the rights and privileges of marriage. Supporters of marriage equality flood the media with images of jubilant same-sex couples simply wanting the chance to say their “I dos” and have the state formally recognize their shared love and commitment. The unfortunate reality is, however, that many homosexual relationships, like heterosexual relationships, dissolve. Marriage rights play as important a role at a relationship’s dissolution as they do at a relationship’s inception. This paper focuses on one such issue often left out of the public discourse over …