The Supreme Court seemed to struggle Wednesday to find a middle ground on whether American courts have any further say in an international custody dispute between a U.S. soldier and his now-separated Scottish wife over their daughter.
The justices are trying to determine whether Army Sgt. 1st Class Jeffrey Lee Chafin can appeal a federal judge's decision to let Lynne Hales Chafin take their daughter back to her native Scotland. The 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that Chafin's appeal was moot because the girl has now been in Scotland for more than a year, and that his only remedy is in Scotland's courts.
But several justices seemed concerned by the idea that a foreign-born parent could escape U.S. court jurisdiction by simply getting on a plane. Chief Justice John Roberts said that would encourage such parents in custody disputes "to leave immediately" following a favorable decision even though it's not a final decision in the U.S. court system.