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News Posted on March 31, 2014

Professor Larson Cited by Assemblymember Skinner on Parental Naming Rights

Professor Carlton Larson is cited in a press release by Assemblymember Nancy Skinner regarding Assembly Bill 2528, which would allow California parents to use diacritical marks (such as those in the names José or Zoë) on their children's birth certificates. Professor Larson, who has been working with Skinner's office on the issue, wrote about California's prohibition against diacritical marks and other aspects of parental naming rights in his article "Naming Baby: The Constitutional Dimensions of Parental Naming Rights," published in The George Washington Law Review in 2011.

"When California became a state in 1850, diacritical marks could be easily produced by pen and paper and even in publications of the state's own laws," Larson said. "Yet we are told that modern computer systems will grind to a halt if their inputs include anything other than the 26 standard characters of the Roman alphabet. Even if that dubious assertion were true, the scope of constitutional rights is not defined by computer software limitations."

Carlton Larson's research interests focus on constitutional law and legal history, with a strong emphasis on the 18th century.

Assemblymember Nancy Skinner press release

"Naming Baby: The Constitutional Dimensions of Parental Naming Rights"