Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Oral Arguments Camreta v. Greene

Oral arguments were this morning. The transcript has been published.

What can I say? I am underwhelmed at the arguments presented on behalf of the respondent Greene, by Carolyn A. Kubitschek, Esq. She faced a court that appeared to be in support of the respondents, and hemmed and hawed apologetically for even daring to suggest that case workers do not have the right or authority to seize children without a court order, exigent circumstances or parental consent. It was almost as if she hadn't even read the amicus briefs in support of her client.

She was all over the issue, "yes we want the ruling vacated," "oops that's not what I meant, we don't want the ruling vacated."

"It's a seizure," "oops, the length of time determines if it's a seizure," "oops, it depends on if there are exigent circumstances."

The strongest statement she could muster was a wishy-washy ". . .that would be to -- to tell the officials who investigate child abuse that in the name of protecting children, they do not have free rein to do anything and everything that they think is appropriate, because what they do harms children, including the very children they claim to be trying to protect." Child welfare practices do much more than harm the children, and besides, child advocates claim that the harm the child suffers is minimal and justifiable.

The Justices gave her all the clues she needed to make effective and compelling arguments, and she missed them. Counsel was obviously a person who did not understand the practices in these kinds of cases, and she was clueless about the legal history surrounding this issue. She did not even appear to be convinced that caseworkers--government agents-- needed to obey the constitution in administering these cases.

Interviewing a child in school, without exigent circumstances, without a court order supported by evidence and affidavit, or without parental consent, starts a chain of events that becomes an juggernaut,virtually  impossible to turn aside or stop. It is the cornerstone violation of every subsequent violation of rights, privacy dignity and self-determination more often resulting in the destruction of the child's family, security, and assets  than resulting in any beneficial outcome for the child.

But counsel didn't appear to understand that simple and well-established principle, which pretty much makes her as dumb as the rest of the population who think the ends justify the means when protecting children.

She actually sounds like a respondent parent attorney before a hostile dependency judge, like Oliver Twist begging for more food, "Please, Your Honor, I'm sorry, my client insists on a contested hearing against my advice. Otherwise, I wouldn't be here."

No wonder the cause of family rights is so stifled. The people who set themselves up to speak for family rights are inarticulate and clueless.

Update March 2, 2011: Here's what other news organization said about her performance

See this editorial discussing Ms. Kubitschek's performance before SCOTUS.

CNN said in this article, "Arguing for the family, lawyer Carolyn Kubitschek offered seemingly conflicting answers on when it is proper for officials to question children without parents present. She suggested the one-hour-plus interrogation of S.G. was inappropriate but a shorter interview might have been all right."

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