Archive for the ‘Law and Culture’ Category

Was there wisdom in the “tender years” doctrine

There is no doubt that the “tender years” doctrine–which favored granting mothers custody of young children–would not pass constitutional muster in the 21st century. Such gender based classifications cannot survive strict scrutiny as there is no “compelling governmental interest” that favors mothers over fathers in determinations of infant custody and, even if there were, a […]

Where’s the public good in “Pro bono publico”?

At some point the Latin phrase for the concept that lawyers should provide volunteer services was shortened from “pro bono publico” to simply “pro bono.” I have no idea when or why it happened, but in the context of family law (at least how it’s practiced in South Carolina) losing the public good aspect of […]

The smartest client I ever had

I went to a top tier liberal arts college to obtain my undergraduate degree. Many of my classes there involved reading and discussion on the concepts of truth, beauty and honor. It was assumed that the study of liberal arts was training us for a life of public service and intellectual pursuit. Very little focus […]

Betting on an estranged spouse’s untimely demise

In the first twenty years of my practice it was rare that a party died in the middle of divorce litigation or within a few years of the divorce. The few times this happened there were obvious warning signs: either a history of serious mental illness including suicidal ideations, or addiction to dangerous narcotics–typically opiates. […]

The more things change…. (ode to the Fish House Punch)

1732 Philadelphia: A gentlemen’s boating club on the Schuylkill River is planning its annual Christmas party. For the first time in its history ladies will be welcome. Colonial America is a drinking culture and cocktails are a mid-19th century invention. Punch will be served. To commemorate the occasion these gentlemen decide to invent a new […]

Red lines and teenagers

Non-custodial parents of teenagers often complain when the custodial parent doesn’t stop their child from engaging in typical risky teen behavior. One hears stories of parents losing custody merely because their teen engages in alcohol use, mild drug use, or has sex while under their care. Not having seen this actually happen myself, I am […]

In defense of the concept of romantic comedies

It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife. Jane Austin, Pride and Prejudice Thus begins the greatest romantic comedy in the history of romantic comedies. With Valentine’s Day approaching, movie studios release a number of mostly banal, mostly Saccharin, mostly […]

A little more perfect union

It seems fitting that I was at the TD Arena with my family awaiting President Obama’s eulogy for Clementa Pinckney when the United States Supreme Court announced its decision in Obergefell v. Hodges, which established a right to gay marriage throughout the country.  Both events seem part of America’s grand struggle to live up to […]

 

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