Family Law Difference Makers

Many Regent Law alumni now serve as Family Court Judges all over the country, working to determine what is best for children in often broken or troubled families.  The Rev. Tim Keller uses divorce laws as an example of how our religious beliefs affect our public life. These Regent alumni are difference makers with a solid base in their personal faith. 
Some tools available to help a child and his or her parents deal with divorce might include film documentaries such as Spare the Child, or a new file called Split which gives the child’s perspective. 
Family law difference makers understand how important it is to work toward family restoration, even in court, and place the best interests of children as paramount to family strength.


Physicians Legally Kill a Child in Belgium

A child has been legally killed in Belgium.  According to CNN: "A terminally ill minor has become the first child to be euthanized in Belgium since age restrictions were lifted in the country two years ago." https://si.wsj.net/public/resources/images/BN-PB109_dreisb_J_20160722154016.jpgThe Daily Mail reports that the minor was 17 years old.  Yet, in most nations and American states, while it varies by country and state, a child is legally incapacitated to participate in various activities due to age (such as smoking, drinking alcohol, voting, marrying, owning property, signing a contract, and in some nations even driving, among others). More specifically, Belgium legally restricts children under the age of 18 from not attending school, drinking alcohol, driving a car, prostituting yourself, marrying, and voting.  But now Belgium does not restrict  those under 18 from physician-prescribed death.

Children are legal minors, legally incapacitated to make legal decision, and laws rightfully recognize that children and minors should not participate in certain activities until reaching a certain level of development.  This is called the doctrine of the best interests of the child.  With the rise in euthanasia, Belgium is among those nations that now allow children to ask doctors to kill them. Even if one ignores the fact that killing is never medical care, it is difficult to imagine an argument for allowing children to demand physicians end their lives.

Rather, every single judge must work toward a decision that represents the best interest of each child before him or her, and every doctor must work to do no harm to a patient, even working to overcome the minor’s will to protect that child’s health.  This decision in Belgium to end a child’s life by a doctor turns those doctrines upside down.

Harming children by killing them cannot strengthen families. It cannot add or subtract value to a child’s life.  Instead, it subverts legal responsibility to care for the most vulnerable, converting a duty to protect a child into a right for a child to kill and be killed.



Changing a Baby's Diaper now a Crime in Arizona?

Thanks to Regent Law 3L Lyndsi Tallman for the subject of this post.

Arizona’s highest court recently rendered an overly broad and sweeping ruling on what constitutes child molestation, making even changing a child’s diaper a crime.  Writing for The Blade, Mark Joseph Stern writes,  “The Arizona Supreme Court issued a stunning and horrifying decision on Tuesday, interpreting a state law to criminalize any contact between an adult and a child’s genitals. According to the court, the law’s sweep encompasses wholly innocent conduct, such as changing a diaper or bathing a baby. As the stinging dissent notes, ‘parents and other caregivers’ in the state are now considered to be ‘child molesters or sex abusers under Arizona law.’ Those convicted under the statute may be imprisoned for five years.” 

Courts are required to protect a children’s best interests at every opportunity. This ruling, however, may go a bit too far in poor judicial application of wide-ranging legislation.  To find out what courts are really required to do to protect children read  Tracing the Foundations of the Best Interest of the Child Standard in American Jurisprudence.


Marriage & the Presidential Election

Richmond, Virginia's Catholic Diocese issued this statement on marriage in response to VP Candidate Tim Kaine's recent suggestion that the Church will have to change its views on marriage moving forward:

         "More than a year after the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling on marriage, and despite recent statements from the campaign trail, the Catholic Church's 2000-year-old teaching to the truth about what constitutes marriage remains unchanged and resolute.

As Catholics, we believe, all humans warrant dignity and deserve love and respect, and unjust discrimination is always wrong. Our understanding of marriage, however, is a matter of justice and fidelity to our Creator's original design. Marriage is the only institution uniting one man and one woman with each other and with any child who comes from their union. Redefining marriage furthers no one's rights, least of all those of children, who should not purposely be deprived of the right to be nurtured and loved by a mother and a father.

We call on Catholics and all those concerned for preserving this sacred union to unite in prayer, to live and speak out with compassion and charity about the true nature of marriage - the heart of family life."

The full statement can be found at incarnationparish.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/The-Catholic-Church-Marriage-Statement-9.13.16.pdf.  Marriage is essential to a strong nation and to family restoration.