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Queer Parents, Judges, and the Transformation of American Family Law
Winner of the 2010 Pacific Sociological Association Distinguished Contribution to Scholarship Award
A lesbian couple rears a child together and, after the biological mother dies, the surviving partner loses custody to the child’s estranged biological father. Four days later, in a different court, judges rule on the side of the partner, because they feel the child relied on the woman as a “psychological parent.” What accounts for this inconsistency regarding gay and lesbian adoption and custody cases, and why has family law failed to address them in a comprehensive manner?
In Courting Change, Kimberly D. Richman zeros in on the nebulous realm of family law, one of the most indeterminate and discretionary areas of American law. She focuses on judicial decisions—both the outcomes and the rationales—and what they say about family, rights, sexual orientation, and who qualifies as a parent. Richman challenges prevailing notions that gay and lesbian parents and families are hurt by laws’ indeterminacy, arguing that, because family law is so loosely defined, it allows for the flexibility needed to respond to—and even facilitate — changes in how we conceive of family, parenting, and the role of sexual orientation in family law.
Drawing on every recorded judicial decision in gay and lesbian adoption and custody cases over the last fifty years, and on interviews with parents, lawyers, and judges, Richman demonstrates how parental and sexual identities are formed and interpreted in law, and how gay and lesbian parents can harness indeterminacy to transform family law.
How Competition for Big Cases Is Corrupting the Bankruptcy Courts
LoPucki's provocative critique of Chapter 11 is required reading for everyone who cares about bankruptcy reform. This empirical account of large Chapter 11 cases will trigger intense debate both inside the academy and on the floor of Congress. Confronting LoPucki's controversial thesis-that competition between bankruptcy judges is corrupting them-is the most pressing challenge now facing any defender of the status quo." -Douglas Baird, University of Chicago Law School "This book is smart, shocking and funny. This story has everything-professional greed, wrecked companies, and embarrassed judges. Insiders are already buzzing." -Elizabeth Warren, Leo Gottlieb Professor of Law, Harvard Law School "LoPucki provides a scathing attack on reorganization practice. Courting Failure recounts how lawyers, managers and judges have transformed Chapter 11. It uses empirical data to explore how the interests of the various participants have combined to create a system markedly different from the one envisioned by Congress. LoPucki not only questions the wisdom of these changes but also the free market ideology that supports much of the general regulation of the corporate sector." -Robert Rasmussen, University of Chicago Law School A sobering chronicle of our broken bankruptcy-court system, Courting Failure exposes yet another American institution corrupted by greed, avarice, and the thirst for power. Lynn LoPucki's eye-opening account of the widespread and systematic decay of America's bankruptcy courts is a blockbuster story that has yet to be reported in the media. LoPucki reveals the profound corruption in the U.S. bankruptcy system and how this breakdown has directly led to the major corporate failures of the last decade, including Enron, MCI, WorldCom, and Global Crossing. LoPucki, one of the nation's leading experts on bankruptcy law, offers a clear and compelling picture of the destructive power of "forum shopping," in which corporations choose courts that offer the most favorable outcome for bankruptcy litigation. The courts, lured by big money and prestige, streamline their requirements and lower their standards to compete for these lucrative cases. The result has been a series of increasingly shoddy reorganizations of major American corporations, proposed by greedy corporate executives and authorized by case-hungry judges.
Ten New Jersey Cases That Shook the Nation
Inside an Experimental Youth Court
Despite being labeled as adults, the approximately 200,000 youth under the age of 18 who are now prosecuted as adults each year in criminal court are still adolescents, and the contradiction of their legal labeling creates numerous problems and challenges. In Courting Kids Carla Barrett takes us behind the scenes of a unique judicial experiment called the Manhattan Youth Part, a specialized criminal court set aside for youth prosecuted as adults in New York City. Focusing on the lives of those coming through and working in the courtroom, Barrett’s ethnography is a study of a microcosm that reflects the costs, challenges, and consequences the “tough on crime” age has had, especially for male youth of color. She demonstrates how the court, through creative use of judicial discretion and the cultivation of an innovative courtroom culture, developed a set of strategies for handling “adult-juvenile ” cases that embraced, rather than denied, defendants’ adolescence.
Law and the Behavioral Sciences in Conflict
In Crime, Punishment, and Mental Illness, Patricia E. Erickson and Steven K. Erickson explore how societal beliefs about free will and moral responsibility have shaped current policies and they identify the differences among the goals, ethos, and actions of the legal and health care systems. Drawing on high-profile cases, the authors provide a critical analysis of topics, including legal standards for competency, insanity versus mental illness, sex offenders, psychologically disturbed juveniles, the injury and death rates of mentally ill prisoners due to the inappropriate use of force, the high level of suicide, and the release of mentally ill individuals from jails and prisons who have received little or no treatment.
Defining Femininity in a Court of Law
Cultural views of femininity exerted a powerful influence on the courtroom arguments used to defend or condemn notable women on trial in nineteenth-century and early-twentieth-century America. A. Cheree Carlson analyzes the colorful rhetorical strategies employed by lawyers and reporters in the trials of several women of varying historical stature, from the insanity trials of Mary Todd Lincoln and Lizzie Borden's trial for the brutal slaying of her father and stepmother, to lesser-known trials involving insanity, infidelity, murder, abortion, and interracial marriage. Carlson reveals clearly just how narrow was the line that women had to walk, since the same womanly virtues that were expected of them--passivity, frailty, and purity--could be turned against them at any time. With gripping retellings and incisive analysis, this book will appeal to historians, rhetoricians, feminist researchers, and anyone who enjoys courtroom drama.
This is a pioneer, long overdue and truly original book that off ers a unique, comprehensive and thorough exposition of the criminal law of Cameroon by a leading scholar. This latest book by Professor Carlson Anyangwe adopts a thematic approach, each chapter covering a specific aspect of the criminal law. The text is a clear, simple and comprehensive exposition of all the offences codified in the Penal Code. It offers a rich, clear, learned and discerning analysis to understanding of the criminal law. The book is designed to instruct and to contribute to a deeper understanding of the subject, the treatment of which is unique, informative and makes for compelling reading. This is the first textbook ever on the subject in Cameroon and it is undoubtedly an indispensable tool of trade for judges, prosecutors, lawyers in private practice, academic lawyers, law students and law enforcement officers.
Pierce v. Society of Sisters and the Struggle over Compulsory Public Education
A definitive study of an extremely important, though curiously neglected, Supreme Court decision, Pierce v. Society of Sisters. ---Robert O'Neil, Professor of Law Emeritus, University of Virginia School of Law "A careful and captivating examination of a dramatic and instructive clash between nationalism and religious pluralism, and of the ancient but ongoing struggle for control over the education of children and the formation of citizens." ---Richard W. Garnett, Professor of Law and Associate Dean, Notre Dame Law School "A well-written, well-researched blend of law, politics, and history." ---Joan DelFattore, Professor of English and Legal Studies, University of Delaware In 1922, the people of Oregon passed legislation requiring all children to attend public schools. For the nativists and progressives who had campaigned for the Oregon School Bill, it marked the first victory in a national campaign to homogenize education---and ultimately the populace. Private schools, both secular and religious, vowed to challenge the law. The Catholic Church, the largest provider of private education in the country and the primary target of the Ku Klux Klan campaign, stepped forward to lead the fight all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. In Pierce v. Society of Sisters (1925), the court declared the Oregon School Bill unconstitutional and ruled that parents have the right to determine how their children should be educated. Since then, Pierce has provided a precedent in many cases pitting parents against the state. Paula Abrams is Professor of Constitutional Law at Lewis & Clark Law School.
The American Death Penalty and the Founders' Eighth Amendment
The conventional wisdom is that the founders were avid death penalty supporters. In this fascinating and insightful examination of America's Eighth Amendment, law professor John D. Bessler explodes this myth and shows the founders' conflicting and ambivalent views on capital punishment. Cruel and Unusual takes the reader back in time to show how the indiscriminate use of executions gave way to a more enlightened approach--one that has been evolving ever since. While shedding important new light on the U.S. Constitution's "cruel and unusual punishments" clause, Bessler explores the influence of Cesare Beccaria's essay, On Crimes and Punishments, on the Founders' views, and the transformative properties of the Fourteenth Amendment, which made the Bill of Rights applicable to the states. After critiquing the U.S. Supreme Court's existing case law, this essential volume argues that America's death penalty--a vestige of a bygone era in which ear cropping and other gruesome corporal punishments were thought acceptable--should be declared unconstitutional.