Abstract

http://ssrn.com/abstract=2050975
 
 

Footnotes (216)



 


 



A Tale of Three Families: Historical Households, Earned Belonging, and Natural Connections


Allison Anna Tait


Columbia Law School

May 4, 2012

Hastings Law Journal, Vol. 63, 2012

Abstract:     
Cases targeting family regulation in the 1970s turned, for the first time, on three contrasting and sometimes competing theories of the family – historical households, earned belonging, and natural connections. This Article introduces and defines these three theories and offers a descriptive account of how the theories were used by litigants and the Supreme Court alike to measure discrimination, evaluate the rights of individual family members and, often, increase household equality. The theory of historical households, developed with great success by Ruth Bader Ginsburg, invoked a Blackstonian family defined by gender hierarchy and the law of coverture, and posited that this model was in need of legal reordering. Earned belonging, offered by Ginsburg as a replacement for historical households, presented a new and more democratic family theory centered on ideas of conduct-based outcomes. The earned belonging theory proposed that an individual could earn her full place in the family through positive conduct and performance. The theory of natural connections, on the contrary, promoted received wisdom about family ordering based on biologic “truths” about sex-based differences. Courts operating according to natural connections theory privileged maternal rights, rejected many paternal claims, and affirmed laws promoting the nuclear, or natural, family. The work of this Article is to present a new and synthetic reading of cases about wives, illegitimate children, and unwed fathers that follows these three logics, revealing how they weave together and why earned belonging provides the strongest support for Ginsburg’s original vision of an equalized household.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 48

Keywords: family law, marital benefits, illegitimacy, unwed fathers, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, legal history, gender stereotyping

Accepted Paper Series


Download This Paper

Date posted: May 16, 2012 ; Last revised: May 17, 2012

Suggested Citation

Tait, Allison Anna, A Tale of Three Families: Historical Households, Earned Belonging, and Natural Connections (May 4, 2012). Hastings Law Journal, Vol. 63, 2012. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2050975

Contact Information

Allison Anna Tait (Contact Author)
Columbia Law School ( email )
435 West 116th Street
New York, NY 10025
United States
Feedback to SSRN


Paper statistics
Abstract Views: 514
Downloads: 66
Download Rank: 200,486
Footnotes:  216

© 2014 Social Science Electronic Publishing, Inc. All Rights Reserved.  FAQ   Terms of Use   Privacy Policy   Copyright   Contact Us
This page was processed by apollo6 in 0.281 seconds