On February 19, 2013 the Supreme Court announced its decision in Chafin v. Chafin, a case involving the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction. Under the Convention, a child is to be returned to his or her country of “habitual residence” if the child has been taken to another country in violation of the Convention. The question in Chafin is whether an appeal of a U.S. district court’s ruling in a child abduction case becomes moot if the parent who won in the district court takes the child back to the child’s country of habitual residence while the appeal by the losing parent is pending.
In an opinion delivered by Chief Justice Roberts, the Court held unanimously that the return of a child to the foreign country does not render the appeal of the order moot. Justice Ginsburg filed a concurring opinion, which Justices Scalia and Breyer joined.
To discuss the case, we have Margaret Ryznar, who is an Associate Professor of Law at Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law.