Monday, August 11, 2014

New Release: Shulman, "The Constitutional Parent"

New from Yale University Press: The Constitutional Parent: Rights, Responsibilities, and the Enfranchisement of the Child (2014), by Jeffrey Shulman (Georgetown University Law Center). Here's a description from the Press:
In this bold and timely work, law professor Jeffrey Shulman argues that the United States Constitution does not protect a fundamental right to parent. Based on a rigorous reconsideration of the historical record, Shulman challenges the notion, held by academics and the general public alike, that parental rights have a long-standing legal pedigree. What is deeply rooted in our legal tradition and social conscience, Shulman demonstrates, is the idea that the state entrusts parents with custody of the child, and it does so only as long as parents meet their fiduciary duty to serve the developmental needs of the child.

Shulman’s illuminating account of American legal history is of more than academic interest.  If once again we treat parenting as a delegated responsibility—as a sacred trust, not a sacred right—we will not all reach the same legal prescriptions, but we might be more willing to consider how time-honored principles of family law can effectively accommodate the evolving interests of parent, child, and state. 
A few blurbs:
"This book is a watershed moment in the trajectory of scholarship on parents’ rights, and the state’s obligations, over and toward the education and well-being of children.  It is a brilliant book in several respects: it is at once rigorous and intellectual, but also passionate, intense, and central to the well-being of our polity."—Robin West

"The Constitutional Parent combines rich historical and normative analysis in novel ways to mount a compelling critique of prevailing assumptions about parental entitlement to control children's lives. It is a fascinating read."—James Dwyer
Excerpts of the book, along with the TOC, are available here.