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|Legal Blog Watch|
The Faith-Based Supreme Court
Call it the Catholic connection. As University of Chicago law professor Geoffrey R. Stone points out in a post at the American Constitution Society's ACSBlog, religious affiliation may be the key to explaining last week's Supreme Court decision in Gonzales v. Carhart, upholding a federal law prohibiting so-called partial birth abortions, otherwise known as "intact dilation and evacuation" or "intact D & E."
In its decision upholding the law, the majority noted that Congress had made several findings to support the legislation. The majority accepted those findings, even though, as Hazard writes, every other federal court that reviewed them found them to be "unreasonable, unbalanced, polemical, and unsupported by the facts." If so, how then to explain the decision? Hazard offers what he calls a "painfully awkward observation":
For Hazard, who served as a law clerk to Justice William Brennan in 1973, the year he joined the majority opinion in Roe v. Wade, last week's decision stands in stark contrast to Brennan's struggle to separate his personal religious views from his responsibilities as a justice. As did Justice Ginsburg in her dissent in Gonzales, Stone quotes from the Court's 1992 decision Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pa. v. Casey, where it said:
To which Stone adds: "It is sad that Justices Roberts, Scalia, Kennedy, Thomas and Alito have chosen not to follow this example."
Are You Ready for Litigation Avoidance?
Should litigation be the first resort of lawyers or the last? At his blog Human Law Mediation, Justin Patten considers this question after reading an article in The Telegraph about U.K. entrepreneur Chris Gorman and the protracted litigation in which he and a business partner were accused of "stealing" a chain of card and gift shops. Gorman and his partner won the case, but not before going through what The Telegraph called a "public ordeal," a "great spectacle" and "a bruising personal experience for those concerned." As the article quotes Gorman:
Precisely. Which leads Patten first to an observation and then a question. The observation:
For Patten, that observation raises the question:
As for lawyers' readiness to embrace litigation avoidance, I suspect we all know the answer.
Non-dad Must Pay Child Support
We have all heard of deadbeat dads, but what about a non-deadbeat non-dad? At his blog May it Please the Court, J. Craig Williams comments on the case of a Florida man who learned too late he was not the father of the son he thought was his. As originally reported in The Christian Science Monitor, through a DNA test 16 months after his divorce, Richard Parker learned that someone else had fathered the 3-year-old boy. Facing court-ordered child-support payments of $1,200 a month for 15 years, he immediately turned to the courts, claiming fraud by his wife. His case took him all the way to the Florida Supreme Court, which issued its decision in February in Parker v. Parker. Williams tells what happened:
Is this the correct result, Williams asks, or should the biological father pay for the child's support? For Parker, the question may still be more than academic. The Monitor reports that the Florida Legislature last year passed a law that allows men to use newly discovered paternity evidence to overturn a court order to pay support for someone else's child. Supporters of the law see it as a major step toward justice for deceived ex-husbands, the Monitor reports, but critics say it poses a potential danger to the well-being of mothers and children.