Sunday, February 17, 2002

around the law

expanding families
The concept of family and parental rights is in a constant state of change.

In Delaware, Family Court ruled on a case in which may have the impact of expanding who may be held responsible for a child. A lesbian couple had a child through in-vitro fertilization. Now, four years later, the couple has broken up, and the custodial parent is suing the other for child support. A Family Court commissioner ruled that both should be considered mothers to the child that they chose to have together. While this will probably be reviewed upon an appeal, I think that this result is indeed in the best interests of the child involved.

In Britain, a study has been released which looks at the possible legal implications of cohabitation without marriage. One of the authors of the study opines that cohabitants should have same legal rights as married couples.

sovereign immunity in the military

Should members of the armed services be allowed to sue the military for violations of privacy? Courts have recognized the use of sovereign immunity to shield the government from lawsuits when there has been a violation of privacy related to a service person's duty in the military. However, the issue in this case stems from the unauthorized use of a flight evaluation in a book.

cloned kitty at heart of debate

The first cloned domestic pet is a kitten. One of the things I found interesting about this story is that it has the Audubon Nature Institute's Center for Research of Endangered Species pitted against the Humane Society of the United States. I can't resist the pun this story brings (sorry). New meaning for the phrase copycat?

questioned judicial nomination

The first federal judicial officer recommended by the Bush administration to get a less than favorable recommendation from the American Bar Association was confirmed this past week. One of the things that people are pointing to is that he is also a Senator's son. The American Bar Association may make recomendations to the Senate Judiciary Committee, but that doesn't always mean that they are listened to. Three of President Clinton's appointees to the federal judiciary also failed to get positive recommendations, but were confirmed.

ftc calls upon miss cleo

The Federal Trade Commission complaint was filed last Thursday after the agency received over 2,000 complaints in the last 18 months. Callers who dialed the service, which was advertised as a free reading, had their phone lines directed to a 900 number with charges of $4.99 per minute. An average reading would cost approximately $60.00. Miss Cleo wasn't a named party in the complaint. Maybe she did see this coming.

justice moving quickly

With a move to a new courthouse scheduled for later in the year, and overcrowding in Delaware's prisons, Superior Court is taking action. Over 400 cases have been set for trial in a four-week blitz, which is equivalent to 6 months worth of scheduling in previous years.

slavery in delaware

While Delaware fought on the side of the Union during the civil war, its attitudes about slavery might have been described as reflecting more those found in the southern states. Slavery was still legal in the state at the end of the war between the north and the south. The Emancipation Proclaimation only applied to Confederate states, and it wasn't until eight months after the civil war ended that slavery was declared illegal in Delaware by the passage of the 13th amendment. Why did slavery linger in the first state, and what treatment did freed slaves face in Delaware?
But Delaware's gradual liberation of slaves also worked against free blacks, Williams said. The state had one of the highest percentages of free blacks by 1800, which led to many laws restricting their rights.

"They now had to pass restrictive legislation to keep blacks in their place," Williams said. "And that restrictive legislation was probably stricter than any other legislation in the United States, north or south."

For instance, free blacks in Delaware could not carry guns or gather in large groups without a white person present. And if free blacks were idle, the sheriff could seize them and offer their services to a white employer.

patenting genomes

An excellent discussion of the patentability of genetic material from Denise Howell of Bag and Baggage is
You Don't Own Me But I'm Your Genome - A Primer On Why Genetic Material Is patentable The links she provides for further research are also well worth following.

mention in other blogs

We recently added a few links on the main page of Delaware Law Office to some other blogs that we like to look at, and were ecstatic to see that a couple of them linked back to us.

We didn't know about the Delaware connection from Outside Counsel before our link, but the blogging going on there by William C. Altreuter was something that inspired us to put together a weblog. (thanks!)

Another inspiration to blog was an essay by Rebecca Blood, called weblogs: a history and perspective. I particularly liked the section where she describes the impact writing a blog had on her own personal life; how it caused her to focus upon and think about her interests, or as she called it, a, "journey of self-discovery and intellectual self-reliance." We started this blog for a couple of reasons. One was try to focus upon and keep track of legal issues in the world around us, and the other was to try to have fun. It was great to see her point us out as a law blog. Thank you, Rebecca, for the link and for the inspiration.

We also found ourselves linked to by John Steven in Trance Gemini where he offers intelligent commentary, mixed with a large element of fun. (thanks for the cite!)

- William Slawski