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University of Pittsburgh School of Law

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The New Laboratories Of Democracy, Gerald S. Dickinson Jan 2023

The New Laboratories Of Democracy, Gerald S. Dickinson

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Nearly a century ago, Justice Louis D. Brandeis’s dissent in New State Ice Co. v. Liebman coined one of the most profound statements in American law: “It is one of the happy incidents of the federal system that a single courageous state may, if its citizens choose, serve as a laboratory; and try novel social and economic experiments without risk to the rest of the country.” Justice Brandeis reminded us of our strong tradition of federalism, where the states, exercising their sovereign power, may choose to experiment with new legislation within their separate jurisdictions without the concern that such …


Doma And The Happy Family: A Lesson In Irony, Rhonda Wasserman Jan 2010

Doma And The Happy Family: A Lesson In Irony, Rhonda Wasserman

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In enacting the Defense of Marriage Act, Congress chose to protect heterosexual marriage because of its “deep and abiding interest in encouraging responsible procreation and child-rearing. Simply put, government has an interest in marriage because it has an interest in children.” Ironically, DOMA may harm, rather than protect, the interests of some children – i.e., the children of gay and lesbian couples.

Both state and federal law reflect the belief that children are better off being raised by two parents in an intact family. This belief is reflected in the marital presumption of paternity, which presumes that a married woman’s …