Zablocki v. Red Hail is a canonical case in family law jurisprudence. One of the few Supreme Court decisions addressing the fundamental right to marry, the case involves a successful challenge to Wisconsin's "permission to marry" statute. However, the conventional understanding of the case addresses only part of the story. The narrative threads uncovered as part of this oral history research study reveal a more multifaceted and complicated story than has been previously appreciated. The story behind Zablocki v. Red Hail spans the 1970s in Milwaukee, a period of great inequality and dynamic social change. It also engages the American Indian experience in the United States, particularly the experience of urban Indians who have been uprooted from their native lands and disconnected from their heritage and history. Finally, although Zablocki v. Red Hail was a significant constitutional victory, the ruling did not secure justice for Roger Red Hail because the pursuit of a rights-based claim left standing an economically unjust (and apparently unending) child support order.
Thursday, December 26, 2013
Britto et al. on Zablocki v. Red Hail
Tonya L. Brito, Raymond Kirk Anderson, and Monica Ashley Wedgewood, University of Wisconsin, have posted Chronicle of a Debt Foretold: Zablocki v. Red Hail, 434 U.S. 374 (1978), which is to appear in The Poverty Law Canon: Exploring the Major Cases, ed. Marie Failinger and Ezra Rosser (University of Michigan Press, 2014). Here is the abstract: