Children in Court

Public Policymaking and Federal Court Decisions

By Susan Gluck Mezey

Subjects: Political Science
Paperback : 9780791429624, 206 pages, July 1996
Hardcover : 9780791429617, 206 pages, July 1996

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Table of contents



1. Constitutional Rights Litigation

2. Aid to Families with Dependent Children

3. The Women, Infants, and Children Program and Head Start

4. The Child Welfare System

5. Child Support Enforcement


Appendix 1:
Rehnquist Court Decisions

Appendix 2:
Burger Court Decisions

Appendix 3:
Warren Court Decisions



Through an analysis of Supreme Court and lower court decisions over the last several decades, this book determines the extent to which the federal courts have affected the legal, political, economic, and social status of children in the U. S.


This book examines the role of the federal courts in policymaking for children. Believing that the federal courts are uniquely situated to provide relief to the less powerful in society, Mezey assesses the judiciary's response to the demands for children's rights and benefits across a number of policy areas and a range of statutory and constitutional issues. Through analysis of Supreme Court and lower court opinions over the last several decades, she determines the extent to which federal court decisionmaking has affected the legal, political, economic, and social status of children in the United States.

Susan Gluck Mezey is Professor in the Department of Political Science at Loyola University, Chicago. Her other books include In Pursuit of Equality: Women, Public Policy, and the Federal Courts and No Longer Disabled: The Federal Courts and the Politics of Social Security Disability.


"What I like most about this book is that I came away having learned a lot. I suspect there are many others who will come away with a much more complete understanding of both the political and legal dimensions of federal litigation involving the rights of minors. For those who teach courses in social policy and/or constitutional rights, this would make a nice text. This book succeeds as a sophisticated critique of how the federal courts, and especially the Supreme Court, have dealt with cases that deal with the rights of minors. It will spark a debate over the scope and application of the law as it should affect children and young adults. " — Gregg Ivers, American University

"Children as a part of the political system have been largely ignored by political scientists despite the important empirical and normative questions surrounding their disenfranchisement from politics. Mezey's work addresses a significant and underdeveloped set of issues. The book also provides a thorough description of federal policy in a number of areas. While descriptions of some of the policy areas Mezey covers can be found elsewhere, it is difficult to find a coherent let alone concise explanation of federal child welfare policy and child support enforcement. In addition, Mezey provides a detailed account of the failure to expand children's programs through the courts. " — Cathy M. Johnson, Williams College