Susan H. Bitensky

Susan H. BitenskyProfessor of Law
Law College Building
648 N. Shaw Lane Rm 447
East Lansing, MI 48824-1300

  • Biography

    Upon graduation from law school, Professor Bitensky served as assistant general counsel to the United Steelworkers of America for three years in Pittsburgh, followed by four years of private practice with a Manhattan labor law firm. Before joining the Law College faculty in 1988, she was associate counsel to the New York City Board of Education for six years during which time she dealt mainly with commercial law and education law matters. Professor Bitensky has published a book Corporal Punishment of Children: A Human Rights Violation (Transnational Publishers 2006); a chapter of an American Bar Association volume; a piece in an encyclopedia on childhood, issued by The University of Chicago Press; as well as a host of law review articles in leading journals such as Northwestern University Law Review and Notre Dame Law Review. She has also presented papers at numerous international symposia. Her scholarship focuses on children's rights under the federal Constitution and international human rights law. She is a member of Phi Beta Kappa. Before college, Professor Bitensky was an apprentice to the Robert Joffrey Ballet Company. At the Law College, she was also the founding director of the Lori E. Talsky Center for Human Rights of Women and Children for six years. She teaches Evidence, Constitutional Law, Jurisprudence, and International Human Rights Law.

  • Degrees

    J.D. University of Chicago Law School, 1974; B.A. magna cum laude, Case Western Reserve University, 1971

  • Curriculum Vitae
  • Courses

    Constitutional Law II
    (Formerly DCL 172) A study of procedural and substantive due process of law, equal protection of the laws and the Bill of Rights, including freedom of expression.

    (Formerly DCL 220) A study of the means and methods of proof or disproof of a proposition as either permitted, required or prohibited under the Anglo-American system of jurisprudence. The rules respecting problems of remoteness and prejudice of evidence, circumstantial proof, the employment of writings, their authentication and proof of their contents. A study in depth of hearsay evidence and its status in the evidence. A thorough inquiry into the so-called "evidential preferences" of our legal system and the deficiencies of hearsay evidence as related to these preferences.

    International Human Rights
    (Formerlty DCL 418) This course explores human rights and the international legal order, background, concepts and the future. It will also consider major international agreements and their relation to local law, and remedies for the implementation of human rights.

    (Formerly DCL 385) This course surveys several views of law and the legal process. It also examines the judicial decision-making process and the social, political and moral contexts that influence and are influenced by judicial decision.

  • Bar Admission(s)

    Michigan State Bar, New York State Supreme Court, Supreme Court of Pennsylvania, U.S. Courts of Appeals for the Second and Third Circuits, U.S. District Courts for the Southern and Eastern Districts of New York and for the Western District of Pennsylvania

  • Publications

    Law Faculty Repository »

    SSRN Author Page »

    Contribution to Encyclopedia

    International Rights of the Child, in The Child: an Encyclopedic Companion 515 (Thomas R. Bidell et al. eds., The University of Chicago Press 2009).


    Corporal Punishment of Children: A Human Rights Violation (Transnational Press, 2006).

    Book Chapter

    Chapter 9: Educating the Child for a Productive Life (Articles 28 and 29), in Children’s Rights in America: U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child Compared With United States Law 167 (C. Cohen & H. Davidson eds.) (jointly published by the American Bar Association and Defense for Children International – USA, 1990).

    Law Review Articles

    Introduction: Anthology of Articles Based on Presentations at Symposium on Whether the United States Should Become a Party to the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child, 22 Michigan State International Law Review 491 (2014).

    The Role of International Human Rights Law and Comprehensive Historical Methodology in Resolving the Conflict Between Positive Law and Natural Law Theories, 19 The Journal Jurisprudence 219 (2013) (Australian).

    An Analytical Ode to Personhood: The Unconstitutionality of Corporal Punishment of Children Under the Thirteenth Amendment, 53 Santa Clara Law Review 1 (2013) (lead article).

    The Mother of All Human Rights: The Child’s Right to Be Free of Corporal Punishment as Hard International Law, 36 Ohio Northern University Law Review 701 (2010).

    The Poverty of Precedent for School Corporal Punishment’s Constitutionality Under the Eighth Amendment, 77 University of Cincinnati Law Review 1327 (2009).

    Coauthored, The Case Against Corporal Punishment of Children: Converging Evidence from Social Science Research and International Human Rights Law and Implications for U.S. Public Policy, 13 Psychology, Public Policy, and Law 231 (2007) (peer-reviewed).

    Ingraham v. Wright: A Betrayal of Brown v. Board of Education, 36 Loyola University Chicago Law Journal 201 (2004).

    Cat in the Hat Moves to Michigan; Expert Witnesses and Their Proponents Curse Dr. Seuss, 2002 Law Review of Michigan State University-Detroit College of Law 835 (2002).

    Section 1983: Agent of Peace or Vehicle of Violence Against Children? 54 Oklahoma Law Review 333 (2001).

    Spare the Rod, Embrace Human Rights: International Law’s Mandate Against All Corporal Punishment of Children, 21 Whittier Law Review 147 (1999).

    Spare the Rod, Embrace Our Humanity: Toward a New Legal Regime Prohibiting Corporal Punishment of Children, 31 University of Michigan Journal of Law Reform 353 (1998) (This article has been reviewed in the 1999 issue of Panstwo Í Prawo by Adam Lopatka, Professor Odinarius of the Theory of State and Law at the Institute of Law Studies, Polish Academy of Sciences. This article is also cited in Henry J. Steiner & Philip Alston, International Human Rights in Context: Law, Politics, Morals 538 (2nd ed., 2000)).

    The U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child and Corporal Punishment of Children: Ramifications for the United States, 5 The Georgetown Journal on Fighting Poverty 225 (1998).

    The Child’s Right to Humane Discipline Under the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child: The Mandate Against All Corporal Punishment of Children, 4 Loyola Poverty Law Journal 47 (1998).

    We "Had a Dream" in Brown v. Board of Education..., 1996 Detroit College of Law Review 1 (1996).

    A Contemporary Proposal for Reconciling the Free Speech Clause With Curricular Values Inculcation in the Public Schools, 70 Notre Dame Law Review 769 (1995).

    Of Originalism, Reality, and a Constitutional Right to Education, 86 Northwestern University Law Review 1056 (1992).

    Theoretical Foundations for a Right to Education Under the U.S. Constitution: A Beginning to the End of the National Education Crisis, 86 Northwestern University Law Review 550 (1992).

    Other Law-Related Publications

    Yes, America, We Can Ban Spanking, New York Daily News, Sept. 21, 2014 (op-ed, by invitation).

    A Bungling Barbarism: Court Baselessly Holds That Child Abuse, Used to Get Kids to Do Chores, Cannot Be Forced Labor, Jurist Academic Commentary, Aug. 16, 2014,

    The ILO and Forced Labor: Ameliorating Poverty and the Hunger for Profits, Jurist Academic Commentary, Forum, Apr. 1, 2013,

    “Right to Work” in Michigan: Depleting Unions, Dashing Dreams, Jurist Academic Commentary, Forum, Jan. 22, 2013,

    Blame for Our Record on Treaties, The New York Times, Dec. 25, 2012 (Letter to the Editor).

    Hitting Children: Should It Be Outlawed?, on-line The New York Times, Apr. 7, 2011, (Letter to the Editor).

    Introductory Note to Council of Europe Convention on the Protection of Children Against Sexual Exploitation and Sexual Abuse, 49 I.L.M. 1663 (2010).

    One Country, One Yardstick?, The New York Times, Mar. 21, 2010 (Letter to the Editor).

    Let the Kid Be, The New York Times Magazine Section, June 14, 2009, at 8 (Letter to the Editor).

    We Don’t Hit Animals; Why Do We Hit Children? The Baltimore Sun (op-ed), Nov. 22, 2006; also published by: Sacramento Bee, Monterey Herald, Houston Chronicle, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, The Salt Lake City Tribune, Newsday, Stars and Stripes, Jerusalem Post, The Capital Times (Madison, WI), The Fayetteville Observer (NC), The Columbian (Clark County, WA), Chandigarh India Tribune, Winnipeg Free Press, The Keene Sentinel (NH), Gulf News (United Arab Emirates), Spokesman Review (Spokane, WA), and Guelph Mercury (Ontario, Canada).

    Corporal Punishment of Children in School: A Violation of International Human Rights Law, published in the 2005 annual proceedings of the Organization of American States.

    Corporal Punishment of Children: A Violation of International Human Rights Law, published by UNICEF (in Turkey).

    Spanking, The Atlantic Monthly, June, 2005, at 20 (Letter to the Editor).

    Israel Bans All Corporal Punishment of Children, EPOCH-USA Newsletter at B (Fall 2000).

    Corporal Punishment, The New York Times, Week in Review, at 14 (Letter to the Editor) (March 12, 2000).

    School Violence and the Court, The National Law Journal at A22 (co-authored) (September 13, 1999).

    Spare the Rod, Embrace Our Humanity, Amicus at 13 (Fall 1998).

    Parental Corporal Punishment of Children Is a Crime in Minnesota, Epoch-USA Newsletter at 3 (Fall 1998).

    Legal News: Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals Finds No Clearly Established Parental Right to Use Corporal Punishment, Epoch-USA Newsletter at 3 (Fall 1997).

    Final Straw: To Spank or Not to Spank? Chicago Tribune §1, at 25 (July 25, 1996).

    Every Child’s Right to Receive Excellent Education, 2 The International Journal of Children’s Rights 137 (Kluwer Academic Publishers, 1994).

    United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child: Answers to Thirty Questions (co-authored) (3rd ed., 1996) (first edition distributed at special briefings for members of the U.S. House of Representatives on March 18, 1994, and for members of the U.S. Senate on May 20, 1994).

    Eulogy for Sean MacBride, in Francis A. Boyle, The Future of International Law and American Foreign Policy 427 (Transnational Publishers, Inc., 1989).

    On “Psychotherapy and the Dying Patient”, 6 Journal of Health Politics, Policy and Law 810 (Winter 1982).