In this article, I first draw on my recent book The Constitutional Rights of Children to introduce the facts of the case and place the case in the larger context of the history of American juvenile justice. I then focus specifically on the role of four remarkable women in the history of this landmark decision: Marjorie Gault, Gerald's mother; Amelia Lewis, Gerald's lawyer; Lorna Lockwood, an Arizona lawyer who became the first woman to serve as the Chief Justice of a State Supreme Court; and Getrude "Traute" Mainzer, who assisted in the litigation of Gerald's case before the U.S. Supreme Court. Focusing on the role of these women as mothers, children's advocates, lawyers, legal researchers, and state actors challenges the conventional framework for the history of social welfare law. For instance, these women articulated visions of social justice that challenged the paternalistic justifications used to legitimate juvenile justice for much of the twentieth century. They also did not accept the strict individualistic constitutional based argument of prominent male lawyers, such as Justice Abe Fortas. Their stories, I believe, suggest that instead of contrasting the Progressive Era and the 1960s, historians must pay closer attention to the parallels and continuities between these two historical eras, including the strikingly similar role of women reformers in both periods.
13 Whittier J. Child & Fam. Advoc. 36 (2014).
Tanenhaus, David S., "Pursuing Justice for the Child: The Forgotten Women of In re Gault" (2014). Scholarly Works. 984.