Professor Beck and Family Violence Clinic Students File Amicus Curiae Brief

Professor Mary M. Beck and the Family Violence Clinic students prepared an Amicus Curiae Brief for the Academy of Adoption and Assisted Reproduction Attorneys (AAAA) for the Supreme Court of the United States. AAAA is an international organization committed to improving the lives of children by advocating for the benefits and stability provided through adoption. The students filed the brief on February 2 in the case of R.K.B. and K.A.B. v. E.T. on Petition for Writ of Certiorari to the Utah Supreme Court.

Second-year clinic students Lauren Vincent, Taylor Banholzer, David O’Connell, Shawna Quast and Emily Crane researched and wrote the brief with Professor Beck and Mark D. Fiddler, who are both AAAA fellows.

The brief argued that the Utah Supreme Court’s decision disrupting an adoption ignored the firmly established “biology plus” template that has evolved over the past 68 years and which the states have each adopted to govern paternity for nonmarital children. The ‘biology plus’ template makes rights commensurate with responsibilities assumed. The Utah holding supplanted a new, undefined reasonability standard for acknowledging paternity from Tribal law.

Over the past 25 years, Professor Beck and clinic students have written multistate and federal legislation, published more than 60 law review articles, and helped write various amici involving permanency for children and safety from domestic violence. Clinic students in 2017-2018 researched legislative amendments that promise expedited permanency to abused children in foster care for Missouri First Lady Sheena Greitens. The governor’s foster care bill reflects some of the student suggestions.