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Santosky v. Kramer

Significance, Further Readings


John and Annie Santosky


Kramer, Commissioner of Dept. Social Services, Ulster County

Petitioners' Claim

Fair preponderance of evidence is unconstitutional when used to terminate parental rights.

Chief Lawyer for Petitioners

Martin Guggenheim

Chief Lawyer for Respondent

Steven D. Scavuzzo

Justices for the Court

Harry A. Blackmun (writing for the Court), William J. Brennan, Jr., Thurgood Marshall, Lewis F. Powell, Jr., John Paul Stevens

Justices Dissenting

Warren E. Burger, Sandra Day O'Connor, William H. Rehnquist, Byron R. White


Washington, D.C.

Date of Decision

24 March 1982


Fair preponderance violates due process guaranteed by the Fourteenth Amendment.

Related Cases

  • Meyer v. Nebraska, 262 U.S. 390 (1923).
  • Pierce v. Society of Sisters, 268 U.S. 510 (1925).
  • In re Winship, 397 U.S. 358 (1970).
  • Moore v. East Cleveland, 431 U.S. 494 (1977).

Additional topics

Law Library - American Law and Legal InformationNotable Trials and Court Cases - 1981 to 1988