UW Law Library Repository Logo

Chronicle of a Debt Foretold: Zablocki v. Red Hail, 434 U.S. 374 (1978)

Item

Title

Chronicle of a Debt Foretold: Zablocki v. Red Hail, 434 U.S. 374 (1978)

Date

2016

Abstract

Zablocki v. Red Hail is a canonical case in family law jurisprudence. One of the few Supreme Court decisions addressing the fundamental right to marry, the case involves a successful challenge to Wisconsin's "permission to marry" statute. However, the conventional understanding of the case addresses only part of the story. The narrative threads uncovered as part of this oral history research study reveal a more multifaceted and complicated story than has been previously appreciated. The story behind Zablocki v. Red Hail spans the 1970s in Milwaukee, a period of great inequality and dynamic social change. It also engages the American Indian experience in the United States, particularly the experience of urban Indians who have been uprooted from their native lands and disconnected from their heritage and history. Finally, although Zablocki v. Red Hail was a significant constitutional victory, the ruling did not secure justice for Roger Red Hail because the pursuit of a rights-based claim left standing an economically unjust (and apparently unending) child support order.

Bibliographic Citation

Tonya L. Brito et al., Chronicle of a Debt Foretold: Zablocki v. Red Hail, in The Poverty Law Canon: Exploring the Major Cases (Marie A. Failinger & Ezra Rosser eds., University of Michigan Press 2016).

SSRN URL

Keywords

Family Law
Indian
Native American
Poverty
Poverty Law
Equality
Inequality
Constitutional Law
Fundamental Rights
Child Support
Justice
Legal History
Law and Society