No Authority for No Kids

Three years ago there was world wide media coverage of a decision by a Family Court judge in upstate New York which ordered that a woman with a history of drug abuse not have have any more children (Example: here ).

The actual language of the order was that the woman

shall not get pregnant again until and unless she has actually obtained custody and care of [all her children].

This do not procreate order was unprecedented in New York and had been issued without any notice to the parties. Yesterday, in an appeal briefed and argued by Eric, the founder of this blog, the Appellate Divison, Fourth Department reversed.(Available here ).

After holding that the court had erred in refusing to hold a hearing on before imposing such an unprecendented condition, the Court ruled that the Family Court, which

possesses only the power which is explicitly conferred on it by statute

had no authority to impose the "no pregnancy" condition.

The Court did not reach the constitutional grounds for the appeal.

The reversal is getting almost as wide a play as the original decision (example).