Wednesday, September 13, 2006

The Legal Argument Against Alimony In A Nutshell

"Where justice is denied, where poverty is enforced, where ignorance prevails, and where any one class is made to feel that society is an organized conspiracy to oppress, rob and degrade them, neither persons nor property will be safe."
--Frederick Douglass

I'd like to challenge you to keep an open mind on the concept of alimony and follow this legal thread.

Alimony is merely a statute. There is no common law right to alimony. Alimony, as only a statute, is subject to constitutional restraints.

The 14th Amendment substantive due process clause Right of Privacy encompasses a Privacy Protected Zone of "personal decisions relating to marriage." Divorce (dissolution of marriage) is a "personal decision relating to marriage."

Carey v. Population Serv. Int’l., 431 U.S. 678, 684-685 (1977) “it is clear that among the decisions that an individual may make without unjustified government interference are personal decisions relating to marriage…”

Littlejohn v. Rose, 768 F. 2d 765, 768 (6th Cir. 1985)"such "adjustments" as divorce and separation are naturally included within the umbrella of protection accorded to the right of privacy."

Therefore the alimony statute is encompassed within the umbra of the 14th Amendment Right to Privacy

A statute infringing a fundamental right or liberty interest requires a standard of strict scrutiny analysis.

“The Court has held that limitations on the right of privacy are permissible only if they survive ‘strict’ constitutional scrutiny – that is, only if the governmental entity imposing the restriction can demonstrate that the limitation is both necessary and narrowly tailored to serve a compelling governmental interest. Griswold v. Connecticut, 381 U.S. 479, 485 (1965).” Planned Parenthood v. Casey 505 at 929.

The first step in strict scrutiny analysis is a presumption the statute is unconstitutional.

“It is well settled that . . . if a law ‘impinges upon a fundamental right explicitly or implicitly secured by the Constitution [it] is presumptively unconstitutional.’” Harris v. McRae, 448 U.S. 297, 312 (1980) (quoting City of Mobile v. Bolden, 466 U.S. 55, 76 (1980))

Next, the state must prove a compelling state interest minimally applied to rehabilitate the alimony statute.

“Requiring a State to demonstrate a compelling interest and show that it has adopted the least restrictive means of achieving that interest is the most demanding test known to constitutional law.” City of Boerne v. Flores 521 U.S. 507, 534 (1997)

In fact, there simply is no "compelling" state interest for the alimony statute. Any interest offered as "compelling" can readily be rebutted.

* Calif. Judge Scolded for Malpractice Mentions
* NY Judge Who Helped Robbery Suspect Evade Arrest Is Removed
* Miss. high court suspends, reprimands Hinds judge

* Constitutionalist---Not A Dirty Word

* Google Enables Classic Book Downloads
You now may search, display or download many books in the public domain via Google Book Search. While Project Gutenberg has made books in the public domain available for free downloading for several years, the source of this Google feature is major libraries from around the world. And whereas, displaying the book in ASCII text or HTML is often an option through Project Gutenberg, Google enables online display and browsing in a consistent, easy-to-read format. It also supports PDF downloads and links to the matching titles at select online bookstores.

Be sure to visit these sites: and