Marci A. Hamilton | July 28, 2016
Dear Democratic Presidential Candidate and Sec. Hillary Rodham Clinton:
I had the good fortune to attend the Democratic National Convention on July 26, 2016, to witness the Roll Call vote that would nominate you as the first woman ever to be a presidential candidate for either political party. Why was I there? Because a friend offered me the coveted tickets, because I wanted my 21-year-old daughter to witness history, and because the theme of the evening was women and children’s issues.
Though you did not attend in person on this night, you were present in the stories of your lifelong work for women and children. It was moving to hear all of the causes you have led, particularly for children. I had also done some homework before attending. I read several of your early writings, including an article published in 1973 entitled, “Children Under the Law,” which was worth the cost of scaling the Harvard Educational Review’s paywall. It was energizing to see that you saw the emergence of a children’s civil rights movement and you even championed Justice Douglas’s concurrence in Wisconsin v. Yoder—the free exercise case permitting the Amish to shorten their children’s education for religious reasons—where he reasoned that the interests of the children were not identical with their parents. If a child had objected to being deprived of a full education, Justice Douglas thought that objection should be relevant. We now know his concerns were legitimate given the educational disabilities children experience who leave the Amish and the widespread educational neglect of boys in the ultra-Orthodox Jewish community. He was so right and you took a clear-eyed view of it.