What’s In A Name?

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8 Responses

  1. greglas says:

    Tim — you might find this paper interesting (by Ann Bartow)

    http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=981199

  2. A says:

    You might also be interested in this website:

    http://thebabynamewizard.ivillage.com/parenting/

  3. greglas says:

    And while we’re at it, you also might like this book.

  4. Tim – government name registries apparently active in a number of Western European countries, including Germany, France, and Belgium. Jim Whitman’s “Two Western Cultures of Privacy: Dignity Versus Liberty,” 113 Yale LJ 1151, 1216-18 (2003) discusses a case from Belgium of a couple that wanted to name their son “Anakin” and lost, with child named “Dorian” by the state instead. Neil

  5. Tim Zick says:

    Neil —

    Thanks — really interesting piece on privacy; looks like some countries (e.g., France) are tinkering with their registry laws. But elsewhere, it seems you have a right to a name –but not any name. I think the ethnographers are onto something, in the sense that this issue goes much deeper than legal conceptions of privacy (and speech).

    By the way, I had read some time ago that David had fallen out of favor in the U.K, and that Mohammed (various spellings) was on the rise.

    Frank —

    Thanks for the links. I had forgotten about the “baby branding” reports. My favorite “disputed” name would have to be “Metallica” (Scandanavia, I think).

    Tim

  6. Stephen Aslett says:

    Though some U.S. courts recognize that parents have a fundamental right to name their children, others don’t. See Henne v. Wright, 904 F.2d 1208, 1214 (8th Cir. 1990) and Brill v. Hedges, 783 F.Supp. 333, 339 (S.D. Ohio 1991) (“[T]his Court agrees with the reasoning of the Eighth Circuit in Henne that, while parents have an important interest in naming their children, this interest does not rise to the level of a fundamental right.”).

    I could see a U.S. court striking down a statute mandating a specific list of names like the Venezuela bill, but it’s a closer question whether a court would invalidate a more narrowly tailored naming statute proscribing, say, “obscene” names or numbers as names.

  7. Stephen Aslett says:

    Though some U.S. courts recognize that parents have a fundamental right to name their children, others don’t. See Henne v. Wright, 904 F.2d 1208, 1214 (8th Cir. 1990) and Brill v. Hedges, 783 F.Supp. 333, 339 (S.D. Ohio 1991) (“[T]his Court agrees with the reasoning of the Eighth Circuit in Henne that, while parents have an important interest in naming their children, this interest does not rise to the level of a fundamental right.”).

    I could see a U.S. court striking down a statute mandating a specific list of names like the Venezuela bill, but it’s a closer question whether a court would invalidate a more narrowly tailored naming statute proscribing, say, “obscene” names, overly long names, or numbers as names.