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April 03, 2023 Columns

Editor’s Note: Family Law and the Supreme Court, 2022-2023

Caroline F. Shea

This issue of the Family Law Quarterly addresses recent and pending U.S. Supreme Court cases that are shaping family law for better or worse. The articles within this issue discuss what has been decided by the Supreme Court in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization and Golan v. Saada and what the Supreme Court may decide regarding Haaland v. Brackeen and 303 Creative LLC v. Elenis. I can speak on behalf of my peers when I say that as current law students, it has been fascinating to watch history unfold before our eyes.

The decided cases discussed in this issue cover the constitutionality of abortion restrictions (Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization), and the court’s discretion under the Hague Convention to deny a child’s return to another country if the return could pose a grave risk of harm to the child (Golan v. Saada). The pending cases deal with the constitutionality of the Indian Child Welfare Act (Haaland v. Brackeen) and if a website designer can refuse despite a state’s anti-discrimination law to make a website for a same-sex wedding (303 Creative LLC v. Elenis).

While this issue of the Family Law Quarterly was being finalized, we received the dreadful news that Narkis Golan, of Golan v. Saada, died at thirty-two years old. She was a domestic violence survivor who stood up for herself and her young son, all the way to the Supreme Court. There are many unknowns about what will happen to her son and her case now that she has passed, but her legal team is working tirelessly to fight for her legacy.

We are living in a time where precedent is uncertain as the Supreme Court hears and decides cases revisiting legal principles that many Americans believed were long settled. The authors who are featured in this issue discuss the ever-changing state of family law in this country. They display a great passion for the issues before the Supreme Court, while some authors express unease about the impact of the Supreme Court ignoring stare decisis and paving a new path. The decisions that the Justices of the Supreme Court made during the last term and are debating this term will have an immense impact on family law across the country and on countless individuals and families.

Several members of our Student Editorial Team had the opportunity of a lifetime of watching the Haaland v. Brackeen oral argument at the Supreme Court. Before watching the oral argument, Professor Kathryn Fort was gracious enough to speak to our team of Student Editors and discuss the history of Haaland v. Brackeen. I entered law school to make a difference and to represent clients who desperately want to be heard and given a fair chance. It was inspiring to watch the attorneys argue after reading this issue’s articles concerning Haaland v. Brackeen. The articles helped me to understand the arguments and what is at stake for thousands of families.

I am honored to be following in the footsteps of the past two Student Editors in Chief who are a constant inspiration to me and the current Student Editors for the Family Law Quarterly. This issue would not have been possible without the hard work, long night editing sessions, and dedication of the New York Law School Student Editors, and for them, I am tremendously grateful. On behalf of the entire editorial team at New York Law School, I want to thank the American Bar Association’s Family Law Section for their constant support.

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Caroline F. Shea

Caroline F. Shea is the Student Editor in Chief of the Family Law Quarterly, 2022–2023, and a member of the New York Law School Class of 2023.