47 research outputs found

    Tributes to Family Law Scholars Who Helped Us Find Our Path: Dorothy E. Roberts

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    Professor Dorothy Roberts is a legacy builder and an inspiration for women, African American scholars, youth, and ordinary folks who want to make a difference in the lives of others. Her work in the field of family, race, and gender law is nothing short of prolific. She is a powerhouse whose research and advocacy reach across law into the fields of Africana studies, sociology, anthropology, medicine, psychology, political science, business, economics, and human rights. She is one of the first female professors to unpack how the law interfaces with Black women in various roles—as mother, wife, partner, daughter, caretaker, worker, and individual. Blatantly calling out the racist regimes behind a multitude of systems policing and regulating poor families in America, Professor Roberts boldly challenges the dominant voices in legal academia, particularly in critical feminist areas. This tribute honors a living legend and the various ways that her books and articles shape the legal landscape regarding the ideals of freedom and equality

    The Texas Mis-Step: Why the Largest Child Removal in Modern U.S. History Failed

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    This Article sets forth the historical and legal reasons as to how the State of Texas botched the removal of 439 children from the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints parents residing in Eldorado, Texas. The Department of Family and Protective Services in Texas overreached its authority by treating this case like a class-action removal based on an impermissible legal argument, rather than focusing on the facts and circumstances that could have been substantiated for a select group of children at risk. This impermissible legal argument regarding the “pervasive belief system” of a polygamist sect that allowed minor females to spiritually marry older adult males sparked questions as to how far the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment and the Fourteenth Amendment go in protecting religious freedom and parental rights. Ultimately, there was a failure on both sides of the case — harm caused by the unnecessary removal of hundreds of children who were not in immediate danger of abuse and harm caused by the return of teenage girls who were at risk for sexual abuse on the Yearning for Zion Ranch. The Article concludes by discussing key factors that would have made a difference in the outcome of the case and the impact of this decision on the interrelationship between parents, the state, and the child

    Racial Myopia in [Family] Law

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    Racial Myopia in [Family] Law presents a critique of Family Law for the One-Hundred-Year Life, an Article that claims that age myopia within family law fails older adults and prevents them from creating legal bonds with other adults outside the traditional marital model. This Response posits that racial myopia is a common yet complex phenomenon in almost every area of law, and it presents most often by centering whiteness as the default standard while failing to account for race and its impact on the law. Race—as well as the scholarship that incorporates race into normative family structure and identity—must be critically considered when proposing new ways of creating family units. This Response calls for active engagement with the racial history surrounding American family structures and the laws utilized to support them in order to achieve the goal of adapting family law to address the needs and interests of all older people

    The Ties That Bind: What Pauli Murray Teaches Us about Race, Family, Slavery, and Inequality

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    Pauli Murray is an unsung American hero. The modern-day understanding of equality and the legal arguments used to obtain it for various groups including African Americans, women, and the LGBTQ community were the brainchild of Pauli Murray. This essay illustrates how Dr. Murray’s family history is emblematic of the struggle for racial justice and equality in America. The pain and tenacity of her ancestors shaped her destiny and spurred her activism. Her family experiences illuminate the many ways that the foothold of structural racism began with placing insurmountable legal barriers between Black men, women, and children as a family unit. The law has played a calculated role in separating the races as families from an ideological perspective. In other words, the construct of race and the inferiority and superiority complexes that accompany it allowed for the legal exclusion of family members within family units. This legal exclusion rendered the identity of formerly enslaved persons invisible in some families, and it often disrupted the structure of what was deemed as the normative family. Dr. Murray’s family story is about the ties that bind white and Black families in America together

    The Changing Tides of Adoption: Why Marriage, Race, and Family Identity Still Matter

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    This essay expounds on the shifting motivation for adoption in the United States using a critical race feminist theory lens to explore how adoption remains wedded to marriage, the control of wealth, and family identity. These three elements have been historically and legally tied to race in that the law was intentionally written to exclude certain persons of color from being able to access marriage or wealth, thereby diminishing their ability to establish family identity. This essay proceeds in three parts. Part II sets forth an overview of the evolution of adoption by exploring the breakdown of formal adoption and informal adoption. Part III discusses how families have changed over time, how societal changes have changed family law, and how these changes have impacted adoption and the number of children available for adoption. Part IV analyzes why marriage, race, and family identity are still so salient in adoption practice and how the impediments they present could be overcome with an extended family network constructed of multiple families

    Teaching about Race and Family Law: Introduction

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    The Perfect Storm: Coronavirus and The Elder Catch

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    The global COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated an already growing phenomenon: the Elder Catch. This term defines the caregiving dilemma faced by adults who are simultaneously working, caring for elder parents or relatives, and in some cases, raising children at the same time. Few scholars have explored how the state uses the traditional family framework to resist providing comprehensive government support for elder care. Women typically bear the brunt of caregiving costs within the family and become physically and mentally vulnerable in the process. COVID-19 has pushed women caught in the Elder Catch to the brink while sheltering at home, and has illuminated the disparities between genders regarding the high level of expectation society places on the availability of unpaid family caregiving. Coronavirus has also highlighted racial inequities for African American and Latino families, where female caregivers are more likely to be essential workers forced to work outside the home, and therefore more likely to contract and spread the virus within their family and surrounding communities. This article uses vulnerability theory to address the caregiving void that American women are facing. By introducing a new term, resistant assets, within the taxonomy of vulnerability theory, this article introduces a diagnostic tool for scholars and policy makers to analyze why it is so difficult to change state and market dependence on unpaid family caregiving and challenge government opposition to expanding social support of the family. Resistant assets are frameworks used by the state to reinforce the status quo and maintain a posture of legal and social non-intervention. The normative and extended family are resistant assets that prevent a revision of the American Social Contract. This article fills a gap in family law scholarship by exploring how analysis of resistant assets within vulnerability theory can contribute to the development of a theoretical foundation for legal change to support family caregivers

    A Critical Race Theory Approach to Children’s Rights

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    This Article uses critical race theory to analyze the impact of corporal punishment and physical child abuse on African American children’s rights in the United States. From an international perspective, the banning of corporal punishment is consistent with multidisciplinary research about the negative effects of physical discipline on children. However, throughout United States history, African American parenting oftentimes utilizes physical discipline to teach children strict compliance with authority in order to prevent deadly violence from being inflicted upon them by white people. Using critical race theory concepts, this Article illustrates how state endorsement of corporal punishment within the family and structural racism within the family regulation system diminishes the parental rights of many African American parents, as well as the rights of African American children. Exploring the thin line between reasonable parental discipline and abuse, this Article concludes that a federal ban on corporal punishment is not enough to protect African American children from harm or maintain their family integrity. When state- sanctioned violence against African American children and adults by police and white citizens is still prevalent, the United States must also recognize and reconcile the legal system’s role in creating communities where African American bodies are often bound by violence and are yet to be freed

    Session III

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    Moderator: Lynn D. Wardle (BYU Law School) Prof. Alan Hawkins & Prof. Jason Carroll, Beyond the Expansion Framework: How Same-Sex Marriage Changes the Institutional Meaning of Marriage and Heterosexual Men’s Conception of Marriage (full-text PDF) Prof. Jessica Dixon Weaver, The Fluid Family Theory Prof. Paul Sullins, Biology and Child Well-Being: The Irreducible Difference of Same-Sex Familie

    Tributes to Family Law Scholars Who Helped Us Find Our Path

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    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 also agreed to submit a tribute. The authors have written about a diverse group of distinguished scholars in the area of family law. We have included 12 scholars who have contributed substantially to the field, and they have also influenced those who have written about them here. The honored scholars and the tribute authors are as follows (organized alphabetically by the honoree): Homer H. Clark Jr. (1918-2015), by Ann Laquer Estin Cooper Davis, by Melissa MurrayPeggy Mary Ann Glendon, by June Carbone Herma Hill Kay (1934-2017), by Barbara A. Atwood Robert Levy, by Paul M. Kurtz Marygold (Margo) Shire Melli (1926-2018), by J. Thomas Oldham & Bruce M. Smyth Martha Minow, by Brian H. Bix Robert Mnookin, by Elizabeth S. Scott Twila Perry, by R.A. Lenhardt Dorothy E. Roberts, by Jessica Dixon Weaver Carol Sanger, by Solangel Maldonado Barbara Bennett Woodhouse, by Sacha M. Coupet Each colleague who participated in this project chose the scholar whose work he or she would celebrate. So, the list of those honored here is subjective and, to a certain extent, serendipitous. This Article is part of a Family Law Quarterly issue that also honors other pioneering contributors to the family law field. We hope to make this a continuing project and to have future opportunities to recognize the many scholars who have had a profound impact on their students – and on all of us – in addition to having an important impact on the development of the law. I trust the reader will find these tributes of interest
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