-- Four University of California, Berkeley, faculty members
are available to discuss the U.S. Supreme Court ruling issued
this morning (Monday, June 5) in the Troxel v. Granville case.
The case involves whether grandparents can obtain court-ordered
visitations over the objections of a child's parent.
is an appeal of a Washington state Supreme Court decision.
A local judge granted the paternal grandparents visitation
rights, overnight stays and a visitation schedule over the
objections of the children's mother after the father committed
suicide. But the Washington Supreme Court overturned the lower
court decision, concluding that it was overbroad and violated
the constitutional rights of parents and their children to
family privacy and autonomy.
the Troxel case involves grandparents, it also raises questions
about the potential visitation rights of any nonparents or
unrelated individuals who may have a special relationship
with a child.
experts on family law and children's issues:
Heifetz Hollinger is a visiting law professor and lecturer-in-residence
at the campus's School of Law (Boalt Hall). Hollinger and
several students from Boalt Hall wrote the friend-of-the-court
brief that the National Association of Counsel for Children
filed with the U.S. Supreme Court on this matter.
concludes that states are not constitutionally barred from
allowing for such court-ordered visitations, but may do so
with certain safeguards: Nonparents must show they have a
significant relationship with the child and that severing
that relationship would be detrimental to the child. In addition,
the brief contends, nonparents must show enough evidence to
overcome the legal and constitutional presumption that a parent
acts in the best interest of the child.
supervises the Child Advocacy Clinic at Boalt Hall and teaches
family law. She is a leading scholar on the legal and psychosocial
aspects of adoptive family relationships. She has filed friend-of-the-court
briefs in a number of precedent-setting cases that protect
children's ties to adults who function as parents even if
they are not their biological parents.
will be away from her office through mid-June but can be reached
after June 5 via email: email@example.com
is a visiting professor at Boalt Hall and an expert in family
law. He is a co-author of "Family Law," a leading
text used in more than 40 law schools across the country.
Ellman holds a tenured permanent position at Arizona State
University's College of Law.
Ellman and other scholars, judges and attorneys have been
working on a major American Law Institute (ALI) report called
"Principles of the Law of Family Dissolution," to
be published in early 2001. The U.S. Supreme Court Library
has requested information about a chapter of the ALI draft
report on custody issues.
can be reached at Boalt Hall through the Jurisprudence and
Social Policy program office: (510) 642-4038 or, after June
19, at his office (510) 542-8305, or by email: firstname.lastname@example.org
a law professor at Boalt Hall, is a family law expert. He
co-authored the 1998 book "All Our Families." Sugarman
can be reached through his office phone, (510) 642-0130 or
by email: email@example.com.
a professor of social welfare and the newly appointed dean
of the campus's Graduate Division, has a national reputation
as an expert on family and child law. She co-authored the
1998 book "All Our Families." Mason will be away
from the office throughout June but will be available for
interviews after she returns on July 1. UC Berkeley's Media
Relations office can help reporters reach her when she