Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

Editor: Gerry W. Beyer
Texas Tech Univ. School of Law

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Supreme Court Interprets the Indian Child Welfare Act Narrowly


The U.S. Supreme Court recently issued an opinion in Adoptive Couple v. Baby Girl concerning the application of the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) in a South Carolina adoption.

In this case, a couple adopted a child with the biological mother’s consent.  Because the biological father was estranged, the couple did not need his consent under South Carolina law.  However, the biological father, a registered member of a Native American tribe, contended the ICWA barred the adoption.  The South Carolina Supreme Court agreed to place the child with the biological father, but the U.S. Supreme Court reversed this decision, “interpreting the ICWA narrowly to apply only in situations in which a Native American family’s break-up would be precipitated by the involuntary termination of a parent’s rights.”

See Julie E. Ganz, United States: Adoption and the Indian Child Welfare Act, Mondaq, July 10, 2013.


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