June 12, 2017

"Two boxes today... Two boxes is likely to mean two or more opinions, depending on their length."

I'm following the live-blogging of the Supreme Court at SCOTUSblog.

Ah! We just got the first Supreme Court opinion ever by Neil Gorsuch.

It's a unanimous opinion, affirming something about Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.
The court holds that a company may collect debts that it purchased for its own account... without triggering the statutory definition of "debt collector."
UPDATE: Sessions v. Morales-Santana. This is an important case on citizenship law and sex discrimination. 
This is a challenge to U.S. citizenship laws, which treats children are born overseas and have one U.S. citizen parent and one non-U.S. citizen parent differently depending on which parent is the U.S. citizen; children of U.S. citizen mothers are treated more favorably.... The court holds that the differential treatment by gender "is incompatible with teh requirement that the Government accord to all persons "the equal protection of the laws.'"

However, the court adds, it cannot convert the exception for mothers who are not married into the main rule displacing the provisions covering married couples and unwed fathers. Put another way, it can't rewrite the laws. So what it does is "leave it to Congress to select, going forward, a physical-presence requirement (ten years, one year, or some other period) uniformly applicable to all children born abroad with one U.S.-citizen parent and one alien parent, wed or unwed."

And, meanwhile, "the Government must ensure that the laws in question are administered in a manner free from gender-based discrimination."

This was a question that the court agreed to review in another case several years ago, before Scalia died, but they deadlocked 4-4 because Justice Kagan was recused.
I want to read the opinion. I'll talk about this more later.

I'm very interested to see what Justice Ginsburg has written about sex discrimination. (It's so easy to father a child! You don't even need to be within a thousand miles of the mother.) There is no dissenting opinion, however, and Roberts and Kennedy join Ginsburg's opinion. Thomas and Alito have a concurring opinion.

The Thomas opinion, joined by Alito, is easy to read and shows the problem, so I'll leave you with this:

The Court today holds that we are “not equipped to” remedy the equal protection injury that respondent claims his father suffered under the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) of 1952. Ante, at 23. I agree with that holding. As the majority concludes, extending 8 U. S. C. §1409(c)’s 1-year physical presence requirement to unwed citizen fathers (as respondent requests) is not, under this Court’s precedent, an appropriate remedy for any equal protection violation. See ante, at 23. Indeed, I am skeptical that we even have the “power to provide relief of the sort requested in this suit—namely, conferral of citizenship on a basis other than that prescribed by Congress.” Tuan Anh Nguyen v. INS, 533 U. S. 53, 73 (2001) (Scalia, J., joined by THOMAS, J., concurring) (citing Miller v. Albright, 523 U. S. 420, 452 (1998) (Scalia, J., joined by THOMAS, J., concurring in judgment)). The Court’s remedial holding resolves this case. Because respondent cannot obtain relief in any event, it is unnecessary for us to decide whether the 1952 version of the INA was constitutional, whether respondent has third-party standing to raise an equal protection claim on behalf of his father, or whether other immigration laws (such as the current versions of §§1401(g) and 1409) are constitutional. I therefore concur only in the judgment reversing the Second Circuit.

69 comments:

Rob McLean said...

That does it! IMPEACH!

David Begley said...

Cert granted in Oil States.

The PTAB is likely finished. This is a big deal. Patents are private property. The Executive can't adjudicate property rights.

Matthew Sablan said...

You may collect debts without being a debt collector, legally speaking, even though you are, indeed, a collector of debts. Because the words mean something very specific.

traditionalguy said...

So Mr Perfect Justice says to forgiven them their debts for not forgiving others their debts.Hmmm?

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Without knowing what the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act says, I don't understand what the controversy is/was.

A debt or loan is an asset to a Bank, because it is money owed. In the same way Accounts Receivable are assets in that they represent cash flow, future money.

It is common when a business is being acquired by another to value those assets at less than full value, because there is always doubt about 100% collection. This is how the acquiring company is able to make money from the risk. Buy A/R at a discount and collect at full value.

They OWN the assets. Should they not collect? Of course, using legal methods. Not the baseball bat the knees method.

Perhaps someone can point me to the 'splain it like I'm 5 version?

Gahrie said...

It's so easy to father a child! You don't even need to be within a thousand miles of the mother.

The splooge stooge doesn't even have to have intercourse with her!

Ann Althouse said...

The case Thomas cites, Tuan Anh Nguyen v. INS, is one I taught many times in Conlaw2 (on the subject of sex discrimination).

Ann Althouse said...

@Gahrie

Picture a woman who is not a U.S. citizen and who doesn't give birth in the United States. The father, who is not her husband, may have simply traveled to her country. He could even have shipped the sperm to her. The woman is clearly in a different position vis a vis the child than the father is. It's just a physical fact that she went through the pregnancy and was present at the birth.

Do you think the child of the female U.S. citizen can be treated more favorably than the child of the male U.S. citizen?

Luke Lea said...

In vitro fertilization might become a route by which mothers assure their children's future as American citizens if fatherhood by itself were enough.

Fernandinande said...

Gahrie said...
The splooge stooge doesn't even have to have intercourse with her!


It's so easy to mother a child! You don't even need to be within a thousand miles of the father.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

The woman is clearly in a different position vis a vis the child than the father is. It's just a physical fact that she went through the pregnancy and was present at the birth.

What if the U.S. citizen woman's egg gestated in a non-(U.S. citizen) surrogate mother's womb? Would the U.S. citizen woman be treated more favorably than the father?

Chuck said...

I used to complain that the better term for use in legal opinions and in statutes was "gender discrimination." Routinely, it is the "gender" of a plaintiff that is effectively the subject of litigation. Not "sex." Of course, we also routinely substitute "sex" for "gender" in lots of discussions, on personal information forms, etc.

I just always thought that "gender" was the right term.

Just like, in the same sex marriage cases, the correct legal term was "homosexual." I note, with real admiration, that Althouse has a tag for "homosexuality," just as Justice Scalia fastidiously used that term in all of his opinions on those cases, going back to Lawrence v Texas, which actually predated any notion (if you believe Justice Kennedy; Scalia however wasn't fooled) of a constitutional right to same sex marriage.

I haven't changed my mind about the "gender discrimination" versus "sex discrimination" terminology, but now we are obviously entering an era where we are going to be seeing all manner of "sex reassignment" cases, gender transformation cases, etc. It is not going to get any easier, deciding on clear and economical legal terminology for all of these cases. "Sex" versus "gender."


Gahrie said...

Do you think the child of the female U.S. citizen can be treated more favorably than the child of the male U.S. citizen?

Yes. In a perfect world, the answer would be no. But we don't live in a perfect world. As the saying goes, a person's mother is a fact, their father an opinion.

Israel for example defines a Jew as someone born to a Jewish woman, or who converts to Judaism.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

I used to complain that the better term for use in legal opinions and in statutes was "gender discrimination."

I agree with Chuck. There is a distinct difference between the terms gender and sex in legal usage. In common usage, sex is the physical act. Gender is what you are (or anymore what you seem to think you are)

Sometimes, just to be a smart ass (surprised?) when presented a form that asks sex, and wants you to fill in the blank, I will respond "yes" or write in "sometimes" or "occasionally"

Oh....you wanted to know if I am male or female? Then ASK THAT.

malicious compliance :-)

Unknown said...

Just as a note about the debt collector thing: Under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, a "Debt Collector" is a very precise term with lots and lots of duties/responsibilities.

To be a "debt collector" is a very bad thing. Fortunately, most people are not debt collectors. If you lend a friend 100 bucks, you shouldn't be saddled with the notice requirements, etc that a "Debt collector" has.

This leads to the somewhat anomalous result the Court reached: If you collect your own debt, you are not a "Debt Collector." Even very, very big companies that do mostly debt collection.

Having not read the opinion, I'm not sure why buying a debt account would allow you to be collecting your own debt, though.

--Vance

Rob said...

Morales-Santana should increase the demand and value of American sperm donations. I'm sitting on a fortune. We're rich, I tells ya, rich!

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

But, Ann, what you're saying is that whenever natural differences between men and women redound to the woman's benefit, they should be left alone, but whenever they redound to the man's benefit, they ought to be artificially corrected. In the first category go abortion and contraception, paternity determination, custody, statutory rape laws (far more harshly enforced on men than on women), women stealing condoms out of the trash vs. men "stealthing," the astonishing "kangaroo courts" current on college campuses, &c. In the other category go cases like this one, where the fact that pregnancy is hard work for a woman but no work for a man has to be tweaked so that the man gets a rawer deal than the woman to "compensate."

If you can think of any instance at all where a man has greater reproductive freedom than a woman, I'd like to hear it.

In my view ... well, let's see. Abortion should be set closer to the European footing, i.e., not after the first trimester except in very rare cases. Birth control pills should be OTC, to put them on a financial par with condoms, and research into other sorts of male BC should continue. All infants should be DNA tested at birth; if the test shows that Dad isn't the father, better for him to know now rather than later. Joint custody should be standard, not a smallish minority, and it shall not be OK for either parent to suddenly move 2000 miles away to evade it. Statutory rape laws shall be enforced equally on both sexes, and it shall be an absolute defense against child support that the accused was a victim of statutory rape, just like any other rape. (That includes drunk women collecting sperm from equally-drunk, unconscious men, BTW.) Horseplay with condoms on both sides has got to stop, but when a woman fishes a condom out of the f'in' trash that has been confessedly used only for oral sex, then there is only one way that sperm inseminated her, and it wasn't his doing. And people complaining of sexual harassment/assault/rape go to the police. I see no reason for exceptions.

That, in my view, would all go some distance towards "leveling the playing field."

Larry J said...

As the saying goes, a person's mother is a fact, their father an opinion.

"Mama's baby. Papa's, maybe."

Yancey Ward said...

I am curious- is it legally sufficient to claim paternity (in this case, Morales-Santana was claiming citizenship because his biological father was a US citizen not married to his mother) rather than prove it in such cases? On a cursory search, I couldn't find out if Morales-Santana had actually proven this underlying claim with a paternity test.

What is Congress most likely to do? I think it will most likely make the physical presence exception longer for US citizen mothers of children born overseas. The vast majority of mothers will meet even a threshold of 10 years, while far fewer US citizen fathers won't.

Of course, it is entirely possible I don't understand all of this- I was struggling a bit to wrap my mind around the case as it was described in the stories. My understanding was Morales-Santana was born overseas to a non-US citizen mother, moved to the US at some point after his birth and became a permanent resident alien. He got arrested multiple times and eventually faced deportation, but then claimed he was a US citizen because his biological father was a US citizen at the time of Morales-Santana's birth. If I understand it, had the citizenship status of his parents been switched around, he would have been a legal US citizen because this hypothetical US citizen mother would have been his functional mother for at least 1 year of his life. I am then guessing that the claimed US citizen father wasn't just a one-night stand, but had actually been a functional father for at least 1 year of Morales-Santana's life immediately after his birth? Is this correct?

jimbino said...

I have always objected to the use of "gender" to refer to sex, since gender, which really just means "kind" or "category," has historically referred to many things besides biological sex and is best used to refer to grammatical gender, where neuter is one of the possibilities.

It is feminists and fundamentalists who have induced us to prefer use of the vague "gender" when we mean "sex."

readering said...

Less interested in first NG opinion (by tradition boring unanimous) than first key vote. Interesting that another case, for which delay led to speculation of 4-4 split, ended in unanimous judgment with NG not participating. Shows how little we know about what goes on back there.

Dave from Minnesota said...

I'd like to know more about the origins of the debt collections case (I suppose I could go to links and read). As noted, debt collectors have a bad image and a lot of regulations to follow. I wonder if someone with a fair amount of debt was trying to use this image (and notification rules) to get out of debt. Or is it a "Better Call Saul" type lawyer who thought he found a big payday.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

RE my question on Fair Debt Practices and Debt Collectors.......Nevermind (in my best Emily Litella voice) I actually googled it.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Having not read the opinion, I'm not sure why buying a debt account would allow you to be collecting your own debt, though.

Why not? You OWN the asset. It is yours even if the origination was elsewhere. Why should you be precluded from getting back what you own?

If you were prevented from collecting the debit account, no one would want to buy another companies assets that include accounts receivable.

Note: I have done commercial loans, when I was long ago in that part of my banking career, and we would take the A/R of the company, an asset, as collateral to the loan. I don't know if that is allowed anymore, but it used to be a common practice.

Yancey Ward said...

Ok, I read the main opinion and see my understanding was wrong all along- Morales-Santana's father needed to remain in the US itself, as a US citizen for five years, in order to be able to have citizenship granted to his son whereas a mother in similar circumstances only needs to do so for one year.

Yes, I don't see any real justification for differential treatment if this new understanding is correct. I do applaud the court for not rewriting the statute, however, and though I need to find and read the 4-4 case Althouse referred to, my immediate suspicion is that the present court was a new compromise that allowed a unanimous decision because it refused to rewrite the law and was, thus, able to get the assent of the conservative wing.

Unknown said...

Consider: An attorney, who is a Debt Collector by fiat under the Act, buys a loan that's overdue.

Why should she not be a Debt Collector? The original lender sold the debt (at a loss) for at least some money. The new debt collector now gets to add on collection fees and court costs, which on many small loans is a huge deal--doubling or tripling the amount owed by the debtor.

To also escape the protections given to the debtor under the Act seems like it would gut the Act entirely. If I can buy the loan from the original lender and it is now "My loan" then who is left that the Act would consider a Debt Collector? (besides Attorneys, that is).

--Vance

Dave from Minnesota said...

I worked for a company that sold its receivables each month to another company. Got immediate cash flow and didn't have the hassle of follow-up on those receivables. It was worth the discount on what they received. Not sure if that is considered a debt collector since it did not involve delinquent accounts, but just the normal processing of monthly billings.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

who is left that the Act would consider a Debt Collector

Vance.

It is my understanding (and I may be wrong) that a "Debt Collector" is one who collects debt for others and charges a fee or percentage of the debt collected. There are many businesses that do this. They don't own the debt but are providing a service.

Unknown said...

Dust Bunny Queen: There's a local company that almost everyone around here uses for bad checks, etc. As far as I know, the merchant just sells the bad check to them; collects their 50% discount, and moves on.
Under your interpretation, even though this company only collects debts, they would suddenly now be the "Originator" and thus no longer subject to the Fair Debt Act.

For those companies that do not just buy the bad debt, that will quickly change, will it not? The amount of harassment they could do is unmeasurable if they are the "originator".

Here locally we had a story recently about a tow truck driver, sent to repossess a car, who got into a chase and ran the debtor off the road, killing the debtor. Certainly illegal to chase them down under the fair debt act, but for an originator? Not illegal, as far as I know.

If the Supreme Court really just held that any debt you buy makes you the Originator, then the Act just was gutted for all intents and purposes.

--Vance

CStanley said...

I find the citizenship law that was central to that case very confusing. I think I understand the opinions to say that the law as written was based on outdated (and inconstitutional) ideas about sex-based roles of parents, as this related to children born to unwed parents.

What I don't get is why the exception was carved out to begin with. I understand that the prevailing ideas of the time meant different treatment of fathers and mothers, but what interest was served in granting citizenship to the child in either case instead of sticking to the standard 10 or 5 year residency requirement for both parents?

Dave from Minnesota said...

DBQ, that is what the court ruled. That the law at issue was written to apply to "repo men", not an ongoing business that purchased a portfolio of impaired assets.

So my understanding is that the court was correct. If they would have ruled otherwise, they would be legislating from the bench. If its best that debt collectors law should apply in this case, the Congress needs to amend the law, not have 5 justices do it. You would think there are other laws that do apply here already. Probably just less stringent.

Unknown said...

Having now read the Fair Debt opinion, it basically says "Congress was an idiot, but they need to fix the stupid law they wrote. We can't rewrite it for them."

Presumably Congress will revisit this, since the Act is fairly well gutted by the decision (and sadly, I think the Court was right in its analysis).

--Vance

Dave from Minnesota said...

Vance, you said it better than me.

Was it Scalia who said that a good judge will hate many of the rulings he makes. If you like all of your rulings, you are probably not a good justice.

Or as Obama (and Hillary) said.....(paraphrasing here)....."I will appoint justices who will sympathize with those getting cars repossessed". No, we don't want that. We want a flawed law correct via the legislature.

Lewis Wetzel said...

"It's so easy to father a child! You don't even need to be within a thousand miles of the mother."
With a surrogate to carry the child to term, the mother has no more need to be within a thousand miles of the surrogate than the father.

Todd said...

Unknown said...

Having now read the Fair Debt opinion, it basically says "Congress was an idiot, but they need to fix the stupid law they wrote. We can't rewrite it for them."

Presumably Congress will revisit this, since the Act is fairly well gutted by the decision (and sadly, I think the Court was right in its analysis).

--Vance

6/12/17, 12:07 PM


What a common sense approach. Shame they all didn't feel that way as to the ACA...

n.n said...

Why does it matter who holds the debt?

The terms should remain as originated but not greater. The obligation and responsibility persist.

n.n said...

Both the mother and father are citizens. Neither the location of conception nor birth are relevant. The child is "our Posterity" by virtue of conception by "the People".

No [class] diversity. No ambiguity. No Pro-Choice, selective, opportunistic, and unprincipled.

robother said...

So a single male American citizen with a high sperm count could get rich and literally become the Father of His Country by 2100?

Lewis Wetzel said...

Blogger Todd said...
. . .
What a common sense approach. Shame they all didn't feel that way as to the ACA...

6/12/17, 12:22 PM

Roberts could have sent it back to congress and said "this will work as a tax measure. Pass it as a tax measure."
Kind of arbitrary, the way it was justified. One can imagine many outcomes, none of them any more or less justifiable (hah!) than the others.
Scalia, was, I believe, more consistent in his deference to the law-making branch of government. Ginsberg is the worst. Whether she defers to congress or not depends entirely on what her ideology tells her to do.

Francisco D said...

Not being a lawyer, I will not try to understand the merits of the cases. What interests me is the unanimous opinion.

I have alternately read that the SCOTUS makes unanimous rulings 40% and 70% of the time. Does anyone know the answer?

When Roberts joins Ginsburg's opinion, is he showing leftist tendencies or just being a nice guy? Why didn't he align with Alito and Thomas?

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Why does it matter who holds the debt?

The terms should remain as originated but not greater. The obligation and responsibility persist.


Exactly. Just like a mortgage, the debt was originated and agreed to by the lender and the borrower. If you look at the agreement, it almost always has a section where it details that the mortgage/debt may be sold to a third party. In other words, you got your loan through B of A, but it is now owned by another company. Often the loan will be "serviced by" another company. Possibly the new owner or even another entity.

Just because your mortgage has been sold to the XYZ company doesn't preclude them from attempting to collect on the debt or you from being responsible for repayment. As the OWNER of the asset, they are entitled to this.

A repo company doesn't OWN the car loan. They are providing a service for a fee.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

BTW: Servicing the debt, as in a mortgage or car loan, doesn't mean collecting on a defaulted debt. It is the process of issuing of bills, coupon books, collecting payments, keeping track of the interest and principle, sending out statements and then reporting to the owner IF the debt/mortgage is being defaulted upon.

For some institutions this service is worth it in reduced employee costs to the lender by paying a small fee to have the servicing company absorb the employee costs.

Meade said...

"So a single male American citizen with a high sperm count could get rich and literally become the Father of His Country by 2100?"

Move over, George Washington, there's a new Wilt Chamberlain in town!

lgv said...

What if a lesbian couple have, one a citizen, one not, have a baby outside the US? Does it make a difference which one actually carried the baby, or does it matter more whose egg was used? Does it matter if they were legally married in the foreign country? Does the citizenry of the sperm donor matter? I'm confused.

Lem said...

The SCOTUS leaks are too long for me to read.

Thanks Althouse.

Etienne said...

Jus soli should be terminated.

It is from common law. The rest of the world has pretty much gotten rid of it. I believe the last country (most recently) was Ireland.

Birthright Citizenship was important when we had to populate the lands stolen from Mexico, and push the Mexicans out.

The immigrants were given a free ticket, and all their children became birthright citizens, and some of the immigrant parents were naturalized.

Today we don't need immigrants to populate the west. The only land free is owned by the government, and is used as an asset to offset our debt.

It's a simple thing. Common law, is bad law. Be done with it.

Steve Uhr said...

Francisco - Your belief is correct. for the October 2015 term 44% of the decisions were unanimous. Oct 2013 - 68% unanimous. ... Averages around 45 percent since 2008.

Steve Uhr said...

Unanimous has several meanings. One, total agreement in all respects. Two, agreement on the basic holding (affirm/reverse) but for different reasons. Three, all Justices join with at least part of majority decision but not in its entirety. ...

Saint Croix said...

It's so easy to father a child! You don't even need to be within a thousand miles of the mother.

I was going to bust Althouse for her glib and silly reduction of fatherhood to sperm but

1) Gahrie beat me to it

and

2) I'm glad she said "father a child" and not "impregnate a woman" or "donate sperm material."

Trumpit said...

"This is not a closed room. There was an FBI investigation. This is not an opportunity to talk about difficult matters privately or in a closed environment. This is a circus. It's a national disgrace.

And from my standpoint as a black American, as far as I'm concerned, it is a high-tech lynching for uppity blacks who in any way deign to think for themselves, to do for themselves, to have different ideas, and it is a message that unless you kowtow to an old order, this is what will happen to you. You will be lynched, destroyed, caricatured by a committee of the U.S. -- U.S. Senate, rather than hung from a tree."

This is my favorite speech of all time, because he calls a bunch of senators a lynch mob to their faces. You can't get any more ballsy than that.

I believe that Ruth Bader Ginsberg is not totally compos mentis, and Trump will likely replace her with another loathsome right-winger before his single term is up. The ruling of the court was not easily digestible to me, so I rely on Althouse for the lay translation of all that legal mumbo jumbo. Mumbo jumbo and gobbledygook are two of my favorite technical words.

Saint Croix said...

from the opinion, Ginsburg writes…

Now facing deportation, he asserts U. S. citizenship at birth based on the citizenship of his biologi­cal father, José Morales, who accepted parental responsibility and included Morales-Santana in his household.

I wonder why she added this detail that Jose Morales "accepted parental responsibility" and included the baby in his household.

What if he had rejected the baby?

And will Ruth Bader Ginsburg be using this "accepted parental responsibility" language in her next abortion opinion?

Saint Croix said...

As the saying goes, a person's mother is a fact, their father an opinion.

That rank bigotry is at the heart of Roe v. Wade. Motherhood is a fact. Fatherhood is an irrelevancy. You are relegated to footnote 67, you silly man!

I don't want to reject some saying as an "old wive's tale." But who among us thinks that women impregnate themselves? Every pregnancy has a father. Every abortion has a father.

Relegating fatherhood to an opinion as a legal matter is idiotic. That's like relegating an unborn child to an opinion.

Why do you think our culture routinely censors abortion photographs? We must the hide the facts to protect our opinion!

"I was never pregnant, there is no baby, I don't know who that man is and that never happened." All of the same cloth.

We might not know what truth is, but there is such a thing, and we should respect it.

Bad Lieutenant said...

Trumpit,

You will be lynched, destroyed, caricatured by a committee of the U.S. -- U.S. Senate, rather than hung from a tree."

This is my favorite speech of all time, because he calls a bunch of senators a lynch mob to their faces. You can't get any more ballsy than that.

>> If jimbino was awake he would insult Justice Thomas for saying "hung" instead of "hanged."

I believe that Ruth Bader Ginsberg is not totally compos mentis, and Trump will likely replace her with another loathsome right-winger before his single term is up.

>>does "another" mean that Justice Gorsuch is one such 'loathsome right-winger," or were you referring to Justice Thomas?

Sebastian said...

"Relegating fatherhood to an opinion as a legal matter is idiotic." Apparently you don't know that a woman's body is sovereign territory, sovereign I tell you, that a man invades at his peril.

Bad Lieutenant said...

Oh, and T, President Trump will be reelected.

Static Ping said...

"teh"?

Francisco D said...

@ Steve Uhr

Thanks.

It's interesting that SCOTUS Justices can find common ground half the time despite clear ideological splits in the court. It would be nice if the same were to apply to current politics.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

Trumpit said...

Mumbo jumbo and gobbledygook are two of my favorite technical words.

Don't forget argle bargle!

Birkel said...

Mama's baby.
Daddy's maybe.

David said...

USA Today (on Yahoo) has the headline. GORSUCH RULES FOR DEBT COLLECTOR IN FIRST OPINION.

They never give up.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Relegating fatherhood to an opinion as a legal matter is idiotic

No it isn't. Fatherhood, the genetic material,DNA, contributed to create the child (or splooge stooge) can be a fact. BUT...until it is proven to be factual, by testing and not just some one says so, the status of genetic father is just a claim or an opinion.

If something like citizenship or a lifetime of child support payments is in the legal mix, then you should be sure of your facts instead of making monumental decisions based on a guess or an opinion.

Meade said...

"Fatherhood, the genetic material,DNA, contributed to create the child (or splooge stooge) can be a fact."

Point of fact: I believe "splooge stooge" refers not to the progeny but to the progeny's male progenitor.

wwww said...

Do you think the child of the female U.S. citizen can be treated more favorably than the child of the male U.S. citizen?


Interesting case.

An actual sperm donor is another question. Say the legal husband is sterile, and the couple uses a sperm donor. In what cases would/ should the child have a citizenship claim, if the mother gives birth outside of the USA?

Or if an unwed mother uses an American sperm donor? Does the child have a claim at that point? When is the father a legal father versus a sperm donor?

wwww said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
wwww said...

With a surrogate to carry the child to term, the mother has no more need to be within a thousand miles of the surrogate than the father.


For the purposes of citizenship, the surrogate is a mother.

Any children born by surrogacy in the USA or Canada or Cambodia or anywhere with birthright citizenship is entitled to a American/Canadian/Cambodian passport. Doesn't matter what their genetics are.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

"Fatherhood, the genetic material,DNA, contributed to create the child (or splooge stooge) can be a fact."

Point of fact: I believe "splooge stooge" refers not to the progeny but to the progeny's male progenitor.

Yes. Thank you. You are correct in correcting me. I left out a couple of words..
contributed to create the child (by the splooge stooge)

I guess this is what happens when you type, enter and go off to do something else before proofreading.

n.n said...

Saint Croix:

The baby is an opinion. Half of the population have a sincere belief in spontaneous human conception (a.k.a. "viability"). They believe that a "stork" delivers the baby at the mother's convenience - a "big bang". It's a fantasy that has made its rounds in primitive cultures and is fully embraced in progressive liberal societies.

Well, not really, but the twilight faith does offer comfort to people whose moral principle is a derivative of environmental stability. And the Pro-Choice religion is only selectively judgmental, so we get [class] diversity, elective wars, refugee crises, etc.

Oh, never mind. It's about the pursuit of wealth, pleasure, leisure, narcissistic indulgence, welfare profits, and democratic leverage. The avoidance of discovering principles that are internally, externally, and mutually consistent, and a progressive indulgence in conflating logical domains, is just a means to an end... a beachfront estate in Hawaii and marginalized competing interests.

n.n said...

The "mother" is a womb bank, and the "father" is a sperm depositor. The "child" is either a person or a clinical product for Planned Parenthood et al.

RonF said...

The problem with according them equal status is that at the time of birth it's rather easy to prove who the child's mother is. The child's father, not so much.