Catherine Smith, J.D.

Professor of Law at Washington and Lee University School of Law

Location: Denver, CO

Professor Catherine Smith’s scholarship focuses on equal protection law, specifically the meaning of equality with respect to children’s rights and the American legal system’s historic, sociologic, and present treatment of children. She reports that although historically, the law, and constitutional interpretation around the nation, has prioritized adults, Hawai’i is a leader on broadening rights and protections for children. Hawai’i law emphasizes that the State’s responsibility to protect its citizens especially extends to vulnerable members of society such as children. Further, the public trust doctrine in Hawai’i’s Constitution requires the State to conserve and protect Hawai’i’s natural beauty and all natural resources for the benefit of present and future generations. Thus, Professor Smith concludes that it would run against the prevailing direction of law for Hawai’i’s court to embrace the common adult-centric missteps that plague our courts.