Family Law

Courthouse 'Nurse-In' Planned in Support of Mom with Nursing Baby Called Out by Judge


Supporters of a Michigan mom scolded by a Paw Paw district judge after she breastfed her son in the courtroom are planning a “nurse-in” outside the Van Buren County courthouse later this month.

They expect perhaps 25 or 30 people to attend the Nov. 28 protest and rally, which will be held at 1:30 p.m., Mackenzie Hatfield-Johnson tells the Kalamazoo Gazette. She is the founder of No Injustice Against Nursing in Public, an advocacy group.

Natalie Hegedus, 32, says she plans to file a complaint against Judge Robert Hentchel over the Nov. 8 call-out, the newspaper reports.

However, Circuit Judge Paul E. Hamre, who serves as chief judge for the Van Buren courts, says Hentchel did nothing wrong. He also said it isn’t clear from the transcript what exactly Hentchel was referring to when he asked Hegedus whether she thought what she was doing was “appropriate” for the courtroom.

“Judges do have wide discretion to, first of all, set the decorum rules for their courtroom and, also, to enforce them,” said Marcia McBrien, a spokeswoman for the state court administrator’s office. “That is because one of the judge’s core responsibilities is to maintain a fair and dignified administration of justice, so a judge has to exercise control of their courtroom.”

Additional coverage:

ABAJournal.com: “Public Breastfeeding May Be Legal in Mich., But It’s Not OK in My Court, Judge Told Mom”

WOOD: “Breastfeeding in court up to judge”

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