Opinion Columns & Blogs

August 16, 2013

Dahlia Lithwick: U.S. freedoms include naming your children

A magistrate judge in Newport, Tenn., made national headlines last weekend when she took it upon herself to rename a 7-month-old baby, whose parents appeared before her at a child support hearing, to resolve a dispute over the child’s surname. The baby’s given name was “Messiah DeShawn Martin.” Child Support Magistrate Lu Ann Ballew spontaneously changed it to “Martin DeShawn McCullough” (McCullough is the father’s name), explaining that “the word ‘Messiah’ is a title and it’s a title that has only been earned by one person, and that one person is Jesus Christ.”

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