Adoption Litigation Postscript

            Since the Appellate Division of the New York State Supreme Court issued a perfunctory denial – without engaging in the issues we put forward on appeal – the reader might ask:  why do you continue to bang your head against the wall on these matters?  

            Permit me to kindly explain.  First, it’s actually my chosen profession as a public intellectual to challenge state power.  This requires leaving the so-called Ivory Tower and taking action in a variety of judicial and legislative venues.  But it also means that you stand the risk of getting “banged up” by the various elites who populate the levers of state power.

            Second,  in the last decade or so, there has been a debate among academics about public criminology.   This is the notion that criminologists who carry their research into the public arena perform an important public service.  In this litigation, we questioned the viability out-of-date adoption legislation pertaining to archival files, and raised important questions about history and the public interest.    Unfortunately, five justices of the Appellate Division did not want to open up this debate.   That, however, does not mean the debate was not worthwhile to pursue.   cf. Loader, Ian, and Richard Sparks. 2010. Public criminology? London: Routledge.

            Finally, I am reminded of the advice of a crusty old sociologist of the 19th century who once said:  “The philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways.  The point, however, is to change it.”   Theses on Feuerbach (1845).