Family Law Prof Blog

Editor: Margaret Ryznar
Indiana University
Robert H. McKinney School of Law

Friday, August 26, 2022

24 States Support ICWA

From Iowa Capital Dispatch:

Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller called for the U.S. Supreme Court to reject a challenge to the Indian Child Welfare Act, which protects Native American children from forced removal from their families and tribal communities.

Miller joined 23 other state attorneys general Monday in filing an amicus brief in Harland v. Brackeen. The lawsuit was brought in 2017 by a white Texas couple who attempted adopting a Navajo boy. The Navajo Nation objected to the request on the basis of the Indian Child Welfare Act, ICWA, as a Native family member of the child also wanted to adopt the child.

The ICWA requires preference is given to Native family and tribal members in adoption cases for native children. Lawyers for the Texas family argued that requirement meant the federal law violates the Equal Protection Clause of the U.S. Constitution, by discriminating on the basis of race.

But the defense lawyers, alongside Native American rights activists and the ACLU, say the law’s protections are not on the basis of race. A person’s legal tribal affiliation is political, not racial, they argued. The attorneys general’s amicus brief backs up this argument, and asks the Supreme Court to preserve the ICWA.

Read more here.

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