Quimbee logo
DMCA.com Protection Status
From our private database of 16,400+ case briefs...

Henne v. Wright

United States Appeals Court for the Eighth Circuit
904 F.2d 1208 (1990)


Debra Henne (plaintiff) gave birth to a daughter, Alicia, in Lincoln, Nebraska, in April 1985. At the time, she was separated from her husband, Robert Henne. Alicia’s biological father, Gary Brinton, acknowledged paternity, and Mrs. Henne desired to give Alicia his surname, Brinton. On the basis of Nebraska state law, however, hospital personnel told Mrs. Henne that she was required to give Alicia the surname Henne because Debra and Robert Henne were still legally married. Linda Spidell (plaintiff) gave birth to a daughter, Quintessa, in Lincoln, Nebraska, in June 1988. She was unmarried at the time, and Quintessa’s paternity was not declared. Spidell desired to give Quintessa the surname McKenzie, which she had given to her other children born in California. None of the children had any relationship to a person named McKenzie; Spidell simply liked the name and wanted all children to share it. Hospital personnel refused to allow Spidell to give Quintessa the surname McKenzie. Quintessa was therefore surnamed Spidell. Henne and Spidell sued the state of Nebraska (defendant), alleging that the statute that prevented them from naming their children as desired violated a fundamental Fourteenth Amendment right. The decision of the district court was appealed.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Bright, J.)

Concurrence/Dissent (Arnold, J.)

What to do next…

  1. Unlock this case brief with a free (no-commitment) trial membership of Quimbee.

    You’ll be in good company: Quimbee is one of the most widely used and trusted sites for law students, serving more than 97,000 law students since 2011. Some law schools—such as Yale, Vanderbilt, Berkeley, and the University of Illinois—even subscribe directly to Quimbee for all their law students. Read our student testimonials.

  2. Learn more about Quimbee’s unique (and proven) approach to achieving great grades at law school.

    Quimbee is a company hell-bent on one thing: helping you get an “A” in every course you take in law school, so you can graduate at the top of your class and get a high-paying law job. We’re not just a study aid for law students; we’re the study aid for law students. Read more about Quimbee.

Here's why 373,000 law students have relied on our case briefs:

  • Written by law professors and practitioners, not other law students. 16,400 briefs, keyed to 223 casebooks. Top-notch customer support.
  • The right amount of information, includes the facts, issues, rule of law, holding and reasoning, and any concurrences and dissents.
  • Access in your classes, works on your mobile and tablet. Massive library of related video lessons and high quality multiple-choice questions.
  • Easy to use, uniform format for every case brief. Written in plain English, not in legalese. Our briefs summarize and simplify; they don’t just repeat the court’s language.

Questions & Answers

Have a question about this case?

Sign up for a free 7-day trial and ask it

Sign up for a FREE 7-day trial