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Only in New Jersey? 
22nd-Nov-2011 09:12 am
Poll #1797121 JerseyParents

According to an NBC news story, a Jersey couple have had their newborn son apprehended (and their previous three children as well) because they give their children Nazi-inspired names (e.g. their first son is named Adolf Hitler Campbell). Assume for the sake of this question that there are no other child protection concerns (e.g. no neglect, child abuse, etc.) In your opinion should parents who name their child after Adolf Hitler (or other pro-Nazi names) have the child removed on child protection grounds (or on any other grounds), where no other child protection concerns exist?


(I found the story here.)
22nd-Nov-2011 05:50 pm (UTC)
Hate speech isn't protected under the First Amendment, and naming your child after the greatest monster of the 20th century is a unique form of abuse. Aren't these kids going to have a hard enough time in life just being the children of Nazi sympathizers? Some day, I would hope they'd be able to break free from that sort of brainwashing, which would be more difficult when you're named Adolf Hitler Campbell. Maybe their asshole parents did them a favor by naming them something that would get them taken away by Social Services before too much damage could be done. May their children be renamed, re-homed and raised by caring, loving people who aren't Nazi assholes.
23rd-Nov-2011 07:43 am (UTC)
Maybe it's late and I'm tired but it seems to me that hate speech is protected under certain circumstances. Of course like all con law matters it's finicky and situationally dependent but I think the distinction is that it can't be intimidating or meant to incite violence. I don't know that naming your child Adolf Hitler (edit to finish my thought: I don't know that naming your child Adolf Hitler would meet the standard of intimidating/inciting violence).
And I imagine their lawyer will also argue that it isn't hate speech at all, though I'm less familiar with the legal definition of hate speech in this context. The lawyer will certainly TRY the argument at the least.
Mind you, I think naming your kid that is pretty awful. I just think it may very well fall under protected speech.

Edited at 2011-11-23 07:47 am (UTC)
23rd-Nov-2011 10:06 am (UTC)
Some people moan that in germany you have restrictions on name giving(unlike in the UK or US) but I never had a problem with it. (names that aren't allowed here are for example titles(michael jackson would have had a hard time here) unless they were former nobles ,
and names that ridiculise the kid, for example, cartoon figures (like dogmatix, or other names that are things or names that show traits or surnames, such as nuisance, sputnik,. it isnt always clear however and it does go with time a bit
23rd-Nov-2011 05:08 pm (UTC)
Most of that doesn't really bother me, but isn't there a rule that you can't give a gender neutral name or something along those lines? Maybe you can't give a kid a name belonging to the other sex? That one seems fuzzy to begin with; here the name Sasha is almost exclusively associated with being a girl's name but for Russian speakers it's a nickname for Alexander, so what's "right"?
Then there are names here like Madison that used to be guy names but are now quite popular for girls. I don't think any girl Madison is going to be picked on so it's not a problem.
Anyway, I can think of a couple of reasons I might want my kid to have a gender-neutral name so that part I don't like the idea of.
24th-Nov-2011 06:45 am (UTC)
It is an old rule nowadays it is possible to have Gender neutral names, (like Kim or Miriam, Helge are gender neutral) Sascha in germany is mostly used by male people here , what is forbidden is giving a child a name that clearly indetifies male or female.
23rd-Nov-2011 03:46 pm (UTC)
It is a thorny one, isn't it? It definitely has some kind of psychological impact on a child, I would think, to be named after Adolf Hitler. It can't be positive. First Amendment issues aside, it seems like there should be something in family law about naming your kids wildly vulgar and inappropriate things. Maybe it's just the normal pressures of family and society that keep us from naming our kids Pol Pot Smith or Gaping Vagina Johnson or whatever. I mean, aside from the occasional Moon Unit Zappa, it doesn't seem like that big of a problem generally. (And I actually kinda like the name Moon Unit. I suggested that when it came time to name my daughter, but was over-ruled. Perhaps for the best.)
23rd-Nov-2011 05:16 pm (UTC)
My ed law class had a long discussion over the nature of vulgarity, nonsense, and free speech, actually - with regards to naming your kid something like "Fuck Smith". We were talking about the Supreme Court case where the high schooler got in trouble for having a sign that said "bong hits for Jesus" and we had a long discussion over whether it was nonsense or whether he was expressing something, and whether nonsense ought to be protected speech.
Quite a few of the major family law cases deal with the outer limits of parents' rights versus the states' rights. The only ones I can think of that dealt with names were last names and I'm blanking on the details of how they came out [headdesk] I remember one in particular a mother wanted to give the child a last name that was the sibling's name and not the last name of either parent.
23rd-Nov-2011 05:24 pm (UTC)
I remember the "Bong Hits for Jesus" kid. IIRC, the crux of that was that the school was trying to punish him for speech which didn't actually occur on-campus. He won that case, didn't he?
23rd-Nov-2011 05:43 pm (UTC)
Nope, he lost, which I disagree with for a variety of reasons I won't get into here. Because it was a school-sponsored event and he was seen as a member of the school, they had an interest in regulating his speech.
There's another whole body of cases about what off-campus behavior schools can regulate; the answer is quite a bit for those that participate in extra curriculars, especially sports, and not so much for other students.
I think he won in the 9th circuit, but the 9th is the most notoriously liberal.
22nd-Nov-2011 06:14 pm (UTC)
Oh, they're back? I remember a few years ago they got in trouble because they couldn't get a cake customized for White Power and Aryan Race Whoops, the girl's name is actually Aryan Nation. MY BAD.

It's people like this that give my beloved state a terrible name. (Pun possibly intended?)

Edited at 2011-11-22 06:15 pm (UTC)
22nd-Nov-2011 06:29 pm (UTC)
Based on name only, no, of course not, but I don't think we know the whole story here. I do not believe they took this baby just b/c of his name.
22nd-Nov-2011 08:39 pm (UTC)
The story contains limited information. There are other allegations that the parents deny. I wondered, if the parents' version turned out to be true, whether or not the court would still hold that saddling those kids with those names was an act of cruelty in itself?
23rd-Nov-2011 11:06 pm (UTC)
According to some court documents, there were numerous allegations of both domestic violence toward the mother and abuse of the children. I think the kids were removed because of the abuse allegations, not the names.
22nd-Nov-2011 08:06 pm (UTC)
If giving your children those names is legal, I don't see how that should be reason to remove the children from their family.
22nd-Nov-2011 08:34 pm (UTC)
Apparently in New Jersey it's legal. Go figure.
23rd-Nov-2011 01:20 am (UTC)
Yes. Promoting such kinds of hatred is child abuse, IMHO.

Besides which, such names are dangerous for the children when angry Jewish kids and their allies start pounding the shit out of them for their names.

There are other weird names that shouldn't be child abuse, but banned anyway. Names like Harry Butts, Blanket Jackson, etc. I wish I could think of better examples.
23rd-Nov-2011 02:12 am (UTC)
Luckily Blanket is just a nickname, he just prefers to go by that rather than his given name. I would choose Blanket over Prince Michael II, too.
(Deleted comment)
23rd-Nov-2011 07:46 am (UTC)
This comment covers how I feel about 99% right.

I do strongly suspect that there must be more going on, if only because social services is kept plenty busy with stuff that is much more serious than a choice of name.
23rd-Nov-2011 11:10 pm (UTC)
Yep, there was more going on... repeated allegations of violence in the home.
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