Katharine B. Silbaugh

Katharine B. Silbaugh

Professor of Law

The Honorable Frank R. Kenison Distinguished Scholar in Law

BA magna cum laude, Amherst College
JD with high honors and Order of the Coif, University of Chicago


Biography

Katharine Silbaugh is widely recognized for her pioneering work on gender, family and household labor, and adolescent interaction with the legal system. Her research highlights the economic and social value of work done within households; the complex relationship between families and institutions, such as employers, schools, and commercial entities; and the inadequacy of the legal framework supporting families and protecting youth. Her publications about the relationship between institutions and family address a range of legal systems including family law, employment law, urban planning, education law, election law, first amendment law, technology platforms, and controlled substances. She has intervened in policy matters including marriage equality litigation, anti-bullying law and policy, and tobacco and nicotine regulation.

Professor Silbaugh clerked for Judge Richard Posner of the US Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit. She later collaborated with Posner on a survey of sexual regulation, A Guide to America’s Sex Laws, published by the University of Chicago Press. She is co-author of The Essentials of Family Law (2009) with Katharine K. Baker. She also is the author of numerous journal articles and book chapters, including the landmark article “Turning Labor into Love: Housework and the Law” for Northwestern Law Review.  Professor Silbaugh contributed to the plaintiffs’ case in Goodridge v. Department of Public Health, the Massachusetts case that won the nation’s first same-sex marriage right in 2004. She has provided advice on anti-bullying legislation to the Berkman Center for Internet & Society’s Youth Meanness and Cruelty Project and serves on several education-related boards and committees. She served for 15 years as an elected representative in local government.

Professor Silbaugh joined the Boston University faculty in 1993, received tenure and a full professorship in 1998, and was named Law Alumni Scholar in 2007 and The Honorable Frank R. Kenison Distinguished Scholar in Law in 2024. She served as the associate dean for academic affairs from 2004 until 2006. She spent the 2006-2007 academic year and Fall 2009 as a visiting professor at Harvard Law School, and was a visiting Professor of Law at Chuo University in Toyko in the Fall of 2007. She was elected to the American Law Institute in 2017, and named Brookline, Massachusetts’ “Woman of the Year” in 2022. She teaches Family Law; Youth and the Law; Education Law; and Torts. Professor Silbaugh was the recipient in both 2004 and 2021 of the Michael Melton Award for Excellence in Teaching.

Publications

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  • National Telecommunications and Information Administration: Comments from Researchers at Boston University and the University of Chicago Boston University School of Law Research Paper Series (2023)
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  • Katharine B. Silbaugh, Title IX’s Unrealized Potential to Prevent Sexual Violence 103 Boston University Law Review Online (2023)
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  • Katharine B. Silbaugh, Family Needs, Family Leave in 2023 53 Seton Hall Law Review (2023)
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  • Katharine B. Silbaugh, Medical Cannabis and the Age of Majority 101 Boston University Law Review (2021)
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  • Katharine B. Silbaugh, More than the Vote: 16-Year-Old Voting and the Risks of Legal Adulthood 100 Boston University Law Review (2020)
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  • Katharine B. Silbaugh, Developmental Justice and the Voting Age 47 Fordham Urban Law Journal (2020)
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  • Katharine B. Silbaugh, The Common Law Inside a Social Hierarchy: Power or Reason? 61 Boston College Law Review Electronic Supplement (2020)
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  • Katharine B. Silbaugh, Emerson v. Magendantz, in Feminist Judgments: Rewritten Torts Opinions (2020)
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  • Katharine B. Silbaugh, The Legal Design for Parenting Concussion Risk 53 U.C. Davis Law Review (2019)
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  • Katharine B. Silbaugh, Environmental Determinism: Functional Egalitarian Spaces Promote Functional Egalitarian Practices 71 Florida Law Review Forum (2019)
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  • Katharine B. Silbaugh, Distinguishing Households from Families 43 Fordham Urban Law Journal (2016)
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  • Katharine B. Silbaugh, Reactive to Proactive: Title IX's Unrealized Capacity to Prevent Campus Sexual Assault 95 Boston University Law Review (2015)
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  • Katharine B. Silbaugh, Bullying Prevention and Boyhood 93 Boston University Law Review (2013)
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  • Katharine B. Silbaugh, Dena Sacco, Felipe Corredor, June Casey & David Doherty, An Overview of State Anti-Bullying Legislation and other Related Laws The Kinder & Braver World Project: Research Series (2012)
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  • Katharine B. Silbaugh, Unsexing the End of Men: A Response to Darren Rosenblum’s Unsex Mothering: Toward a Culture of New Parenting Harvard Journal of Law & Gender (2012)
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  • Katharine B. Silbaugh, Deliverable Male 34 Seattle University Law Review (2011)
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  • Katharine B. Silbaugh, Architecture of Legal Feminism 9 Issues in Legal Scholarship (2011)
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  • Katharine B. Silbaugh, Testing as Commodification 35 Washington University Journal of Law & Policy (2011)
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  • Katharine B. Silbaugh, Sprawl, Family Rhythms, and the Four-Day Work Week 42 Connecticut Law Review (2010)
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  • Katharine B. Silbaugh & Katharine K. Baker, Family Law: The Essentials (2009)
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  • Katharine B. Silbaugh, Califano v. Westcott, 443 U.S. 76 (1979), in Encyclopedia of the Supreme Court of the United States (2008)
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  • Katharine B. Silbaugh, Cleveland Board of Education v. Lafleur, 414 U.S. 632 (1974), in Encyclopedia of the Supreme Court of the United States (2008)
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  • Katharine B. Silbaugh, Women's Place: Urban Planning, Housing Design, and Work-Family Balance 76 Fordham Law Review (2007)
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  • Katharine B. Silbaugh, WalMart's Other Woman Problem: Sprawl and Work-Family Balancing 39 Connecticut Law Review (2007)
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  • Katharine B. Silbaugh, Money as Emotion in the Distribution of Property at Divorce, in Reconceiving the Family: Critique on the American Law Institute's Principles of the Law of Family Dissolution (2006)
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  • Katharine B. Silbaugh, The Practice of Marriage 20 Wisconsin Women's Law Journal (2005)
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  • Katharine B. Silbaugh, Is the Work-Family Conflict Pathological or Normal under the FMLA? The Potential of the FMLA to Cover Ordinary Work-Family Conflicts 15 Washington University Journal of Law & Policy (2004)
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  • Katharine B. Silbaugh, Proliferation 12 Columbia Journal of Gender and Law (2003)
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  • Katharine B. Silbaugh, Sex Offenses: Consensual, in 4 Encyclopedia of Crime and Justice (Joshua Dressler,2002)
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  • Katharine B. Silbaugh, Accounting for Family Change 89 Georgetown Law Journal (2001) (book review)
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  • Katharine B. Silbaugh, Gender and Nonfinancial Matters in the ALI Principles of the Law of Family Dissolution 8 Duke Journal of Gender Law & Policy (2001)
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  • Katharine B. Silbaugh, Foreword: The Structures of Care Work 76 Chicago-Kent Law Review (2001)
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  • Katharine B. Silbaugh, One Plus One Makes Two 4 The Green Bag 2d (2000) (book review)
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  • Joan Williams, Jamie Boyle, Adrienne Davis, Martha Ertman, Nancy Polikoff, Katharine B. Silbaugh, Lucie White, Susan Carle & Leti Volpp, Unbending Gender: Why Work and Family Conflict and What to Do About It 49 American University Law Review (2000)
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  • Katharine B. Silbaugh, Marriage Contracts and the Family Economy 93 Northwestern University Law Review (1998)
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  • Katharine B. Silbaugh, Grounded Applications: Feminism and Law at the Millennium 50 Maine Law Review (1998)
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  • Katharine B. Silbaugh, The Polygamous Heart? 1 Green Bag 2d (1997) (book review)
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  • Katharine B. Silbaugh, Foreword 6 Boston University Public Interest Law Journal (1997)
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  • Katharine B. Silbaugh, Commodification and Women's Household Labor 9 Yale Journal of Law and Feminism (1997)
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  • Katharine B. Silbaugh, Turning Labor into Love: Housework and the Law 91 Northwestern University Law Review (1996)
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  • Katharine B. Silbaugh, Intrusive Law Reform 76 Boston University Law Review (1996)
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  • Katharine B. Silbaugh & Richard A. Posner, A Guide to America's Sex Laws (1996)
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  • Katharine B. Silbaugh, Sticks and Stones Can Break My Name: Nondefamatory Negligent Injury to Reputation 59 University of Chicago Law Review (1992)
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In the Media

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  • The Washington Post July 10, 2024

    Some Massachusetts Towns Are Trying to Say Goodbye to Tobacco — Forever

    Katharine Silbaugh is mentioned.
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  • Stewarts Law June 19, 2024

    Our Changing World and Changing Families Discussed at IAFL Annual Meeting

    Katharine Silbaugh is featured.
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  • New England Journal of Medicine May 25, 2024

    Toward a Tobacco-Free Generation — a Birth Date–Based Phaseout Approach

    Katharine Silbaugh and Christopher Robertson's research is featured.
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  • Wavelengths April 10, 2024

    Rep. Vargas to Participate in Forum on the Pros and Cons of Lowering the Voting Age

    Katherine Silbaugh is featured.
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  • News 18 April 6, 2024

    Should School Children Be Allowed to Vote? How Indian Elections Work & Why Polling Matters for Kids

    Katharine Silbaugh is quoted.
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  • Daily Record April 3, 2024

    Cheating on Your Spouse Is a Crime in New York. The 1907 Law May Be Repealed

    Katharine B. Silbaugh is quoted.
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  • West Island Blog March 25, 2024

    New York Legislature Debates Repeal of Century-Old Adultery Law

    Katharine B. Silbaugh is featured.
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  • Sky News March 22, 2024

    New York Could Scrap Law That Criminalises Adultery

    Katharine Silbaugh is quoted.
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  • Associated Press

    Cheating on Your Spouse Is a Crime in New York. The 1907 Law May Finally Be Repealed

    Katharine B. Silbaugh is quoted.
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  • PR Newswire March 8, 2024

    Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court Upholds Tobacco-Free Generation Law

    Katharine Silbaugh is quoted.
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  • Boston Globe November 24, 2023

    Brookline Banned Anyone Born This Century from Buying Tobacco in Town. The Rule Is ‘Clever,’ but Is It Legal?

    Katharine Silbaugh is quoted.
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  • Big News Network November 6, 2023

    Massachusetts Court Puzzles over Lifetime Tobacco Ban for Gen Z

    Katharine Silbaugh is featured.
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  • Commonwealth Beacon November 4, 2023

    SJC Can Fuel Spread of Brookline Tobacco Law

    Katharine Silbaugh pens an opinion.
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  • CBS News November 29, 2022

    Boston City Councilors Weigh Allowing 16, 17-year-olds to Vote in Municipal Elections

    Kate Silbaugh is quoted.
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  • The Doctors May 13, 2022

    Could Laws Help Prevent The Next Generation from Smoking?

    Katharine Silbaugh is interviewed.
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