24 May 2018

Why Don't Lawyers Cite To Relevant Precedents?

A new study reports that judges and their law clerk's often locate outcome relevant case law that is not cited to by the lawyers in the cases before them.

The article discussing it surmises that this is because lawyers are bad at finding case law. But, the example cited (when prosecutors didn't mention a case that caused a motion to be decided against it) and common sense, suggests that incompetence is not the only, and perhaps not even the primary, reason that lawyers don't cite to relevant cases.

The other obvious, but not mentioned, reason, is that often at least one of the side's lawyers do find a case, but don't cite to it because it doesn't support their client's position. Sometimes both sides may even decide that they won't cite to a case that is relevant because the case has statements that are harmful in one way to one side, and in another way to another side, and lawyers want cases that more purely support their client's positions.

In my own experience, judges and law clerks do find novel case law that was not located by either of the parties about one time in ten, but relevant (but not necessary controlling) case law is omitted in perhaps one out of three briefs written by a lawyer (although less often intentionally by both lawyers briefing the same issue in a case).

California Has Adopted The National Standard For Ethics Rules

On May 10, 2018, California's Supreme Court adopted a new set of ethical rules for the state based upon the American Bar Association's Model Rules of Professional Conduct, effective November 1, 2018. A cross-referenced comparison of the new rules to the existing ones is available here.

On that date, every U.S. state will have ethical rules for lawyers that are based upon the Model Rules of Professional Conduct. The dates of adoption are shown here. Puerto Rico is the only substantial U.S. jurisdiction that does not have rules of professional conduct for lawyers based upon the Model Rules. Contrary to my prior coverage of this issueMaine adopted the Model Rules with select modification in 2009 and there are no longer any states that have ethical rules based upon the prior Model Code of Professional Conduct, which was disavowed by the American Bar Association in favor of the successor Model Rule of Professional Conduct in 1983.

Many states have state specific tweaks to the Model version, and California will have some of its own, but all are based upon the same general framework and starting point language. This gives rise to considerable uniformity between the states in the professional ethics rules that apply to lawyers and to easier comparisons between states when they adopt rules that differ from the Model Rule language. 

Notably, this has been achieved entirely without federal government intervention.

Multi-jurisdictional Litigation Is Surprisingly Common

Nearly 40 percent of the civil cases currently pending in federal court—now over 130,000—are part of a multidistrict litigation, or MDL.
From the abstract of a law review article found here. Some more of the abstract is as follows:
In MDL, all cases pending in federal district courts around the country sharing a common question of fact, such as the defectiveness of a product or drug, are transferred to a single district judge for consolidated pretrial proceedings, after which they are supposed to be remanded for trial. But the reality is that less than 3 percent are ever sent back because the cases are resolved in the MDL court, either through dispositive motion or mass settlement. Surprisingly, despite the fact that the MDL court is where all of the action in these cases typically happens, that court need not have personal jurisdiction over the plaintiffs or the defendants under the rules that would apply were the cases being litigated one-by-one. Indeed, even as the Supreme Court has clamped down on personal jurisdiction in recent years, the personal jurisdiction exercised in MDL has avoided rigorous analysis for reasons that do not survive scrutiny.
The pervasiveness of MDL is particularly surprising giving the aversion of the U.S. Supreme Court, during the extended period during which it has had a conservative majority, to almost every aspect of class action lawsuits. 

18 May 2018

Novel Remedies

Judges have a pretty narrow range of options in resolving cases. What if there were additional options for them such as the following?

* What if, instead of punishing someone criminally for perjury or holding them in contempt, a judge could declare that any statement made by someone in any future court proceeding or legal document was presumptively false? Their testimony alone would never suffice to make out a prima facie case., or to overcome a motion for summary judgment. Their affidavits recorded in real property records after that time would be presumed to be invalid.

* What if there were a registry of every time that a court determined that someone made an untruthful statement under oath that would be publicly available and admissible in court proceedings?

* What if there were a central registry of all occupational license actions taken against someone at any level, so that, for example, someone who had a license suspended by misconduct as a securities broker would automatically be easily accessible if someone sought a license from some other board or sought appointment to some public office?

* What if the results of a background check on every candidate for public office was automatically distributed to every voter as part of a ballot information packet?

* What if, an official who had absolute immunity from civil liability, like a judge or prosecutor, automatically lost that immunity when determined to have committed an ethical violation related to the case where civil liability is sought (or just in general)?

* What if all vehicles owned by, or in the household of, someone whose driver's license was suspended or revoked who had driven anyway at least once, was marked with a sticker that would authorize law enforcement to make random stops to the vehicle to determine that the driver had a license? Or, perhaps, the car would have a device that would only allow it to start if a valid license was inserted and a photo of the person inserting the license was taken simultaneously?

* What is a court, upon learning that a public official (including a judge in a case reviewed by an appellate court) had committed a serious abuse of discretion, or intentionally defied the law, had the authority to sua sponte remove that public official from office or suspend that public official for a length of time?

* What if someone who had filed for bankruptcy or had unsatisfied money judgments outstanding against them was prohibited from establishing a limited liability entity or benefiting from limited liability, without being bonded against losses people might suffer from the entity?

* What if any debt incurred by someone who had a legal obligation to be, or had represented that they were, bonded and/or insured, but was not, was non-dischargeable in bankruptcy?

17 May 2018

Sabato Puts 50-50 Odds Of Dems Retaking The House In 2018

The U.S. House

Larry J. Sabato's Crystal Ball is one of the most credible predictors of election outcomes in Congressional races. He gives the Democrats a 50-50 chance of retaking the U.S. House of Representatives in 2018 with a wide range of possible outcomes. Democrats need to pick up 23 seats (net) to achieve this outcome.

This is somewhat hard to reconcile with some stunning special election victories in recent months for Democrats running in safe Republican seats. But, gerrymandering. But, voter turnout and voter suppression. But, tribal politics. But, resignation in the face of one act of Trump Administration/GOP mischief after another. But, a diffuse sense that individual members of Congress are responsible for the acts of fellow party members. 

The U.S. Senate

The U.S. Senate race is much easier to make predictions about at this point, because there are far fewer races to analyze and none of the district boundaries have changed, and polling is more easily available.
There are 35 U.S. Senate seats up for election this year, 33 of which would ordinarily be up for election and 2 of which (Minnesota and Mississippi) are open due to vacancies. Democrats need to win 28 of the 35 seats up for election to win a majority; Republicans need to hold just 8 of the 35 seats up for election to retain a Senate majority. The Democrats need to pick up 2 Senate seats to gain a majority in the Senate (including independents who caucus with the Democrats). 

Simply put, there is a less than 50-50 chance of Democrats gaining a majority in the U.S. Senate. It would take a big "blue tsunami" for that to happen. A "par for the course" outcome in the current quite favorable environment for Democratic candidates would be for Democrats to win 25 seats which would mean that there would be 47 Senators who caucus with Democrats and 53 with caucus with Republicans, for a net loss of two seats. One can't simply predict the outcome of each race independently, however, because midterm elections are all strongly correlated with each other.

This said, however, a narrow majority in the Senate is not nearly as powerful as a narrow majority in the House. Defections do happen in the Senate on individual votes among a handful of moderates (some of whom will be gone after 2018), 

Of the Senate races, eighteen have at least a remote possibility of changing hands in an extraordinary election while seventeen (13 Democratic and 4 Republican) are safe. 

Democrats need to win fifteen of the eighteen seats that are in play. Republicans can achieve a 50-50 tie in the Senate with gives them a majority with Vice President Pence casting deciding votes in cases of ties for the Republicans, with just four out of eighteen seats that are in play. The seats that are in play break down as follows (according to Real Clear Politics with incumbent parties in open seats, incumbent candidates where an incumbent is involved, listed following each state, and bold face type for the state if Trump won that state in 2016):

Thirteen safe Democratic seats with Democratic incumbents who, except in the open seat in Maine, are running for re-election. Clinton won twelve of these states in 2016 and won most, but not all of Maine's electoral votes in 2016.

Six likely Democratic: Michigan (Stabenow-D), Minnesota-2 (Smith-D), New Jersey (Menendez-D), Pennsylvania (Casey-D), Wisconsin (Baldwin-D), Virginia (Kaine-D) 

Two lean Democratic: Ohio (Brown-D), Montana (Tester-D)

Eight toss ups: Arizona (R), Indiana (D), Tennessee (D), Florida (Nelson-D), Missouri (McCaskill-D), Nevada (Heller-R), North Dakota (Heitkamp-D), West Virginia (Manchin-D).

One lean Republican:Texas (Ted Cruz-R)

One likely Republican: Mississippi 2 (Hyde-Smith-R)

Four safe Republican seats (including the open seat in Utah) with Republican incumbents who, except in Utah, are running for re-election (all were won by Trump).

Fourteen of the eighteen Senate seats in play are in states that Trump won in 2016. Four are seats that were won by Hillary Clinton in 2016. 

Yet, 2016 was not a landslide election. Clinton won the popular vote and 236 out of the 270 electoral votes needed to win. But, the 2018 mid-term elections in the U.S. Senate happen, more or less by chance, to be in territory that is disproportionately favorable to Republicans.

Federal Races In Colorado

There is not a U.S. Senate race this year in Colorado. 

The only races of national importance will be its seven Congressional District races, several of which are safe seats. The 6th Congressional District held by Republican Mike Coffman is the likely to flip in 2018, based upon voter registration and support for Clinton in the 2016 election, but Mike Coffman has consistently exceeded expectations for a generic Republican in this suburban Denver district.

Personality, Japanese and the Sapir–Whorf Hypothesis

The Sapir-Whorf hypothesis attaches importance to the importance of language, and especially vocabulary, to what people can and do think about.

In furtherance of that hotly disputed hypothesis, I offer up two Japanese words that describe personality types, which don't have close, well recognized, single word or very short phrase equivalents in the English language. Yet, with each single word, the Japanese can instantly evoke an personality archetype (for what it is worth, I am fairly certain that there is a word that is a fairly close equivalent to Tsundere in German, although I don't recall any longer what it is). And, I have to say that in my personal experience, I have encountered people whose personalities are a pretty good fit to each of these two terms.

I welcome anyone who disagrees and can identify a close English language equivalent to do so in the comments. Pronunciation guidance is also welcome in the comments.

These terms are used primarily in discussions of character tropes in Japanese fiction, but can be used more generally as well. They are:

Tsundere (ツンデレ)
A personality which is usually stern, cold or hostile to the person they like, while occasionally letting slip the warm and loving feelings hidden inside due to being shy, nervous, insecure or simply unable to help acting badly in front of the person they like. It is an portmanteau of the Japanese terms tsuntsun (ツンツン), meaning to be stern or hostile, and deredere (でれでれ), meaning to be "lovey dovey".

Yandere (ヤンデレ)
A term for a person who is initially loving and caring to someone they like a lot until their romantic loveadmiration and devotion becomes feisty and mentally destructive in nature through either overprotectiveness, violence, brutality or all three. The term is a portmanteau of the words yanderu (病んでる), meaning (mentally or emotionally) ill, and deredere (でれでれ "lovey dovey"), meaning to show genuinely strong romantic affection. Yandere people are mentally unstable, incredibly deranged and use extreme violence or brutality as an outlet for their emotions.  In Japanese fiction,Yandere characters are usually, but not always, female.

16 May 2018

About Kaiser Permanente

I get my health insurance through an Obamacare Kaiser Permanente plan.

Kaiser gets a bad rap in word of mouth reviews, but on the whole, I feel good about this choice.

The Business Model

There are a lot of things that Kaiser does right, and these things, as well as its faults, have a lot to do with its unique vertically integrated system. 

Kaiser is both a health insurer and a health care provider. Except for emergency room care and possibly a few kinds of national specialty care that it can't maintain in network, all medical care is provided by Kaiser employees in Kaiser' owned and run facilities.

Kaiser is a secular non-profit organization.

Kaiser's medical professionals there are employees and not entrepreneurs. Kaiser's administrators are people trained to manage medical operations, not doctors trying to carry out administrative tasks they weren't taught in medical school. Kaiser's ability to let medical professionals be medical professionals and not have to deal with anything else allows them to pay lower salaries for comparably skilled professionals.

Kaiser centralizes its provision of health care in a small number of large, hospital scale facilities that are run like an airport complete with check in kiosks, long walks to where you need to go within a complex of buildings, and connected parking complexes.



For comparable levels of insurance coverage, Kaiser is the lowest priced, which is why Kaiser is almost always number one in market share within markets where it is an Obamacare marketplace option. This is mostly due to streamlined billing and record keeping processes, due to paying doctors less since they don't have to deal with business management issues, due to better administrative management, due to a lack of a need to earn profits, and due to economies of scale by providing health care on a centralized basis to a large patient base. 

So, the lower price of Kaiser health insurance premiums does not come from covering less or providing lower quality care, as is the case in other low priced health insurance plans (coupled with price conscious medical provider shopping in deductible plans).

It is also easy to pay the premiums over the phone or Internet, 24/7.

Billing For Services Provided

With any other health insurer, billing issues between providers and insurers are a constant back and forth battle. Billing screw ups are common. Anything as complex as a child birth or minor surgery almost inevitably requires time consuming and stressful work with the triangle of provider-insurance company and you to sort out at least one or two problems. And, there isn't just one provider to deal with - ever doctor, paraprofessional, material provider and non-professional service provider involved sends a separate bill with the bills for a single medical procedure often coming in over a matter of months in multiple separate mailings with no way to know if you've actually received all of them. The discrepancy between the "sticker price" and the price your insurance company actually allows is absurd and a misstep in the process means you get stuck with being billed the "sticker price" which is paid only by uninsured people who don't have the time to negotiate in advance and can' pay cash. Usually, the human being providing the services and the patient have no idea what the sticker price or insurance price will actually be until long after the services have been provided.

With Kaiser, that simple doesn't happen. There is never an insurance company-provider billing dispute. In the HMO plan that I choose, 90%+ of the services that I receive have a fixed, reasonable co-payment that I know in advance and pay for in advance. When there is a deductible, there are no outrageous sticker prices to worry about - the price is on a standard, not inflated schedule. I get all of my bills from one office and I only have to deal with one office if there is a problem.

Good Systems

Research has consistently shown that good systems are as important to quality of health care as talented professionals providing care. Kaiser's centralized record keeping does a good job of making sure that you get the preventative and follow up care that you need with checklists, and of making sure that everyone in the team of medical providers has access to all of the relevant information about you.

The coordination between physicians, pharmacists, physical therapists, laboratories for medical tests, and the like within the system is nearly seamless. You can walk out of a doctor's visit and get many tests done immediately and pick up prescriptions all on the same trip.

Kaiser has quality control safeguards to monitors the working of systems that other providers don't even put in place, let alone carefully review.

Vetting and Quality Control of Medical Professionals.

The actual medical professional at Kaiser are for the most part, no better and no worse than those available through traditional preferred provider networks in an ordinary health insurance plan. 

But, since many medical professionals are independent, self-employed contractors, Kaiser also provides a means of vetting medical professionals to keep out the worse ones than an individual signing up doctors on their own, and the centralized locations of Kaiser facilities also provides a greater level of oversight for medical professionals that allows it to weed out medical professionals who see a deterioration in service quality due to personal issues much more quickly than an insurance company dealing with an independent private practice could.


Geographic and temporal availability of providers

The biggest disadvantage of Kaiser is that you can only use Kaiser run providers, except for emergencies. Obviously, there are good economic reasons for this to be the case. But still, it is a major drawback.

Kaiser Is In Only A Few States and Serves Only Some Metro Areas In Some Of Them

This means that Kaiser is pretty much useless outside the handful of metropolitan areas where it has provider centers set up around the country in half a dozen states, unless you need to go to an emergency room. For example, my daughter in Maine for college needed supplemental coverage  for non-emergency care because the closest Kaiser facility to her is in metropolitan Washington D.C.

Kaiser does not even seem to have reciprocity agreements so that if you are on vacation or visiting someone and need to fill a prescription or receive urgent care, you can't get meaningful insurance coverage for visiting an approved local provider somewhere where there aren't Kaiser facilities. This is effortless with pretty much any other health care provider.

It would not be very hard at all for Kaiser to have an agreement with one major national pharmacy chain like Walgreens or Kroger or Walmart or RiteAid, and one or two national urgent care clinic chains, to provide prescriptions and urgent care to Kaiser members in places outside the territory covered by Kaiser owned facilities for which Kaiser members would pay an increased out of network copay or deductible percentage, but prices would still be controlled. 

Indeed, an out of area urgent care agreement might actually save Kaiser money because often Kaiser members with no options other than going to an emergency room when out of area under the status quo could go to much less expensive urgent care centers instead.

Kaiser Has Only A Few Locations In Each Metropolitan Area

Unless a Kaiser provider location is close to you (they only have about three or four locations in the whole Denver metro area that provide a full set of services, and only one in Denver proper), getting to your provider appointments is inconvenient. The economies of scale here, are also obvious, but it is still a serious consideration.

For some services, like urgent care and mental health care providers, the situation is even worse because services aren't consistently available for all patients at all locations. 

For example, while Kaiser has two major provider offices adjacent to each other on the Presbyterian/Saint Luke's/St. Joseph's/National Jewish hospital complexes centered at about 20th Street and Franklin Street in Denver (which is its only Denver proper location), there are only about five psychiatrist at that location, some of which are only there part-time, who can't meet all of the demand from its usual service area, so someone in Denver needing a mental health care appointment needs to travel to a far South Denver facility near Parker, or to a facility in Aurora at about Alameda and Havana, which is a thirty to forty-five minute trip in good traffic and longer during rush hour. 

This is particularly irksome because a psychiatry office usually benefits much less from economies of scale (and indeed, neither of the two main metro Denver mental health offices are in the same building as Kaiser's non-mental health care services anyway). It would be very easy to set up a few more local mental health care clinics, but Kaiser hasn't done so. It wouldn't even be too difficult to set up specialty pharmacy clinics at those locations offering only meds that are typically prescribed by mental health professionals, rather than offering full service pharmacies. Or, for that matter, to have full service pharmacies at those locations to provide more local services.

The non-urgent care hours are quite limited, with no evening or weekend hours even though often someone just needs an after hours physician visit that doesn't call for the full capabilities of an urgent care clinic, and even the urgent care hours aren't great compared to other urgent care centers. The quality of care once you're there is fine, but can involve some significant wait time compared to the norm for urgent care. I have no idea why Kaiser doesn't have an urgent care facility at its large complex in Denver that sits empty on evenings and weekends. The capital costs would be minimal, and the number of medical professionals on site is large enough that with orderly rotations, professionals could do urgent care shifts just a few times a year and meet the demand. 

For a health care system with as many members as Kaiser has, there is really no excuse for not having at least one urgent care facility open in the metro area 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. There is also no good reason that Kaiser shouldn't offer some late night or weekend appointments for ordinary non-urgent care medical services when it operates at the scale that it does. Even if just 5% of ordinary primary care appointments could be scheduled in those hours, it would make a big difference to the utility of the services that they provide.

It is good that you can do very efficient single trips that combine lab tests or prescriptions order by the doctor minutes earlier, or can set up appointments in person or even the same day for physical therapy or other follow up care. But, it is inconvenient to have to pass half a dozen or more pharmacies en route to the closest Kaiser pharmacy on the way to fill your prescription.  There is a very long trip from anywhere in the metro area to Kaiser's one or two urgent care clinics (it doesn't even have a single urgent care clinic in Denver proper) sort of defeats the purpose of urgent care. If your looking for an after hours sports physical, that's tolerable. If you have a kid with a high fever or sprained ankle, the urge to stop at any of the dozens of free standing urgent care centers in the city even though it won't be covered is pretty intense.

Doctor choice

As a transition matter, having to leave your existing health care providers to transition to Kaiser providers is a pain. Once you've done it, however, it isn't that big a deal because your providers are in the system, and finding a new one when your doctor retires is easier. I haven't had any serious dissatisfaction with any of my providers at Kaiser, nor have any of my family members. And, I have met very few people who actually choose a doctor based on a real evaluation of the doctor's credentials rather than location and interpersonal issues and there are enough doctors in the Kaiser system to overcome interpersonal issues. It really isn't that different once you are in the system from having to chose providers within an insurance company's more ad hoc provider network.

The concern is greater, however, if you have a condition that requires really specialized care. For example, when my father had pancreatic cancer, his initial provider told him there was no hope and there was no cancer center in metropolitan Cincinnati willing to attempt the kind of surgery he ultimately received. He had to travel to Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota (which from a patient interface basis and administration perspective has a lot in common with Kaiser), where he got the treatment he needed and survived about a decade and a half afterwards with a condition that often kills you within six months of being diagnosed, and his insurance paid for almost all of those charges. I wouldn't have that option with Kaiser, at least without an epic bureaucratic fight for my life.

Systemic Limits On Care

I've heard that there are internal controls on what care will be offered by Kaiser that influence what its medical professionals will recommend that may rule out certain kinds of care that are less established or expensive. I suspect that this is true, although I haven't encountered it myself.

Insurance companies other than Kaiser also limit what they will cover, and network providers for insurance companies have incentive that work similarly, but most insurance policies cover out of network providers partially but significantly compared to network providers. And, the out of network coverage option in a traditional health insurance policy provides a patient to more access to care options that are discouraged or forbidden in a closed provider system like Kaiser.


While there are tradeoffs involved in using Kaiser over ordinary health insurance plans and network medical providers, on the whole, as someone who spends almost all of his time in metro Denver, the tradeoffs are well worth it.

Moreover, while I have some specific complaints about Kaiser, for the most part, this could be remedied with the kind of constructive solutions that I present in this post, making the gap between Kaiser and its competition much narrower.

Who Receives The Economic Benefit Of Patentable Ideas?

In this paper we merge individual income data, firm-level data, patenting data, and IQ data in Finland over the period 1988–2012 to analyze the returns to invention for inventors and their coworkers or stakeholders within the same firm. We find that: (i) inventors collect only 8 percent of the total private return from invention; (ii) entrepreneurs get over 44 percent of the total gains; (iii) blue collar workers get about 26 percent of the gains and the rest goes to white-collar workers. Moreover, entrepreneurs start with significant negative returns prior to the patent application, but their returns subsequently become highly positive.
Philippe Aghion, Ufuk Akcigit, Ari Hyytinen, andd Otto Toivanen in the new AER. Via Marginal Revolution.

Query how different the situation would be in the U.S. v. Finland, as Finland has a much more egalitarian economic system and corporate culture.

15 May 2018

Sensible Alternatives To The "Ban Child Marriage" Campaign

A campaign is under way to prohibit anyone under eighteen from being married.

In the American context, this mostly operates to take away legal rights from teen mothers.

A better alternative is to allow some under age eighteen marriages, but to limit the circumstances when they are allowed:

1. Marriage should only be permitted for someone under the age of eighteen when the bride is either already a mother, or is pregnant and has made a voluntary choice not to have an abortion, and is marrying the father.

2. Marriage under the age of eighteen should require an inquiry approved by a court, that the marriage and the relationship are truly voluntary. And, it should be denied in the face of domestic violence involving the couple.

3. Women who marry under the age of eighteen should have access to free, long term birth control and in the event that they become pregnant, to abortion without anyone else's permission required.

4. We, as a society, owe women in this situation economic support so that they don't make their decision under economic duress.

No situation when a young woman who is not yet eighteen is a mother is optimal. But, opponents of all marriages under age eighteen are making the best the enemy of the good.

Certainly, at some point, our society would be right to incarcerate for a long time someone who has sex with a girl under a certain age. 

But, the age of consent is not eighteen and shouldn't be eighteen. Most sixteen year olds have had sex, legal, non-rape sex. Sometimes they are going to have children. And, throwing the man in jail for a year or two for statutory rape does not make the young woman or her child better off in the cases where she is pregnant and choose not to have an abortion or give the child up for adoption.

But, in those circumstances, marriage provides a teen mother with more legal protections than not being married does. It provides her with a right to maintenance (a.k.a. alimony), to a share of her husband's property acquired during the marriage, and various other legal benefits of marriage (Social Security benefits after ten years of marriage or less if she becomes a widow, access to veteran's benefits from her husband, the right to bring a wrongful death action, a presumptive inheritance of all of his property if she becomes a widow, etc.). In the U.S., marriage is not a defense to forcible rape, it is not a defense to domestic violence, and no fault divorce is available in every state, so either party can unilaterally end the marriage at any time. The downsides present in many countries are not present in the U.S.

Yes, someone who marries under the age of eighteen has a 48% chance of divorce within ten years. But, that means that 52% of the time, the marriage does last ten years or more. We certainly don't prohibit everyone who wants to go to college but has less than a 50% likelihood of graduating from doing so.

The divorce rate for people who marry when under the age of eighteen is about twice the rate of those who marry over the age of twenty-five. But, most of that difference is because most people who marry over the age of twenty-five are college graduates who tend to have fewer divorces, while most young women who marry under the age of eighteen are high school graduates at most, and were typically never college bound in the first place. Most women who marry under the age of eighteen, had they not married then, would have married long before the age of twenty-five, probably wouldn't have earned a college degree and probably wouldn't have married someone who did, and would have had perhaps a 40-45% chance of marriage within ten years.

There is certainly no data to suggest that someone who doesn't marry the father of their child but lives with the father of their child outside of marriage is likely to have a more stable relationship than they would if they had married, or that their prospects are improved by waiting under she is eighteen years old to marry. And, the shorter the marriage, the weaker her legal rights are if they divorce.

And, suppose that a sixteen year mother old marries a twenty year old father of her child and they stay married for only eight years. 

Is it really true that she is no better off than if she had never married at all? 

Her child got eight years of being raised by both parents in an in tact family. She gained alimony and property rights in that eight years and day to day help raising their child. She will be better prepared to be a single parent at twenty-four than she was at sixteen. She will have an easier time managing to hold down a job with a child in elementary school than with a baby who needs constant day care at great expense for her to hold down a job. It isn't the ideal outcome, but is better than the likely outcome if they had never married at all.

02 May 2018


It has come to my attention that the first subscribe link in the footer is broken. I've added a couple more below it that should work. I can't figure out how to get rid of the bad one.

Software 101

From xkcd under a Creative Commons license.