Children's Rights

Children's Rights

Professor James Dwyer
Fall 2019 seminar
W 5:00pm - 7:00pm in WCC Room 3008
2 classroom credits

Prerequisites: None

Exam Type: No Exam
Students will write a paper on a topic of their choice; no exam.

One of the most dynamic areas of legal theory today, children's rights is a fascinating lens through which to reexamine fundamental principles about rights more generally and larger moral and legal questions: What gives rise to moral and legal status? What is a person, and why does personhood matter? What beings are capable of possessing rights? What reasons does the legal system have for ascribing rights to anyone? What do rights protect - choices, interests, something else? Should everyone have the same rights? Or should equal rights for all at least be a presumptive starting point for legal analysis? In this seminar we will address these questions in the course of examining the law governing fundamental aspects of children's lives. Specific topics will include maternal substance abuse during pregnancy, how states identify and protect newborns from unfit birth parents, prison nurseries, barriers to domestic adoption (including race and religion matching and the Indian Child Welfare Act) and to international adoption, public spending on parenting supports, ethical problems with much of the current research on child welfare program efficacy, corporal punishment, parental religious objection to medical care, cults, homeschooling, regulation and financing of private schools, students' rights of expression, children's privacy within the family, raising political consciousness among children, the right to vote, and the special challenges and rewards of being a lawyer for children.

Subject Areas: Family, Gender & Children's Law, Constitutional Law & Civil Rights, Human Rights, Regulatory Law