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Constitutional Aspects of Family Law

This lesson is an examination of the constitutional law aspects of Family Law. It builds upon lessons which provide a review of Constitutional Law in the Family Law context, but is much more detailed. It is intended as a supplement and review of constitutional doctrine as it occurs in specific Family Law areas such as marriage, divorce, parenting, procreation, sexuality, the rights of minors, and end-of life issues.

Learning Outcomes

On completion of the lesson, the student will be able to:

  1. Explain the importance of the Fourteenth Amendment to Family Law.
  2. Discuss the argument that marriage is a fundamental right under the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment as derived from Loving v. Virginia.
  3. Restate the holding in Obergefell v. Hodges.
  4. Explain the Court's decision in United States v. Windsor.
  5. Distinguish the Court's holdings in Boddie and Sosna.
  6. Diagram the holdings in Meyer, Pierce, Prince, and Yoder, as they relate to parents' constitutional rights.
  7. Debate the conflict between constitutional rights of a minor and the rights of that minor's parent.
  8. Formulate a definition of parent based on court decisions in this lesson.
  9. Explain Buck v. Bell.
  10. Describe the importance of Griswold v. Connecticut.
  11. Differentiate Bowers v. Hardwick from Lawrence v. Texas.
  12. Explain the Court's holdings in Cruzan v. Director, Missouri Dep't of Health and Washington v. Glucksberg.


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