SCOTUS will handle the case about Native American Adoption Law

U.S. Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland speaks during the daily press briefing at the White House in Washington, DC, on April 23, 2021. (Photo by JIM WATSON/AFP) (Photo by JIM WATSON/AFP via Getty Images) )

U.S. Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland speaks during the daily press briefing at the White House in Washington, DC, on April 23, 2021. (Photo by JIM WATSON/AFP) (Photo by JIM WATSON/AFP via Getty Images) )

The Supreme Court has agreed to hear arguments in four cases challenging the constitutionality of decades-old federal law protecting Native American children.

The court issued the certificate on Monday in Brackeen v. Haalandmerge it with three other instances: Haaland and Brackeen, Cherokee Nation v. Brackeenand Texas and Haaland.

The court said in order Second, add that the cases will be merged in the future. The court limited oral arguments to a total of one hour and set a brief meeting schedule for the parties.

All four cases stem from the efforts of Chad Brackeen and Jennifer Brackeen, a Texan couple, adopted a Navajo child. Brackeens, white Christians and non-Native Americans, were looking for adoption The boy was taken into their care in 2016 when he was 10 months old. When they tried to adopt him the following year, a court ruled that under Child Welfare Act of India 1978 (ICWA), the child must be sent to a Navajo family to which he is not related by blood.

The Brackeens File a lawsuit ICWA challenge. They argue that the law, originally passed to protect Native American children after studies showed some children were brought into non-Native American homes despite the willingness of relatives to adopt them, violate their constitutional right to equal protection.

“ICWA acts as a unified scheme to place ‘Indian children'[ren]’in an unpopular position, depriving them of their placement decisions based on their best interests and instead asking for positions based on ‘the child’s biology[y]”,” argued Brackeens in their certification request. “These ‘requests often lead to outcomes that differ from those under state law,’ because state law asks which placement will serve the child’s best interests – not which placement will place the child.” young into the ‘Indian Community [citations omitted.]. ‘”

Brackeens argues that ICWA’s preference for placing Native American children in Native American homes “is detrimental to children who are vulnerable because of their ancestry – even if they have no connection whatsoever.” different from the tribe – making it harder for those children to find lasting and loving homes.”

Their petition accuses Congress of blatant racism toward non-Native American families seeking to adopt Native American children.

“To be sure, Congressional racism is ‘most evident’ in ICWA’s third place preference, which outright favors any ‘Indian family.[y]’from any of the 574 tribes above any non-Indian family,’ Brackeen’s petition said. “But the third place preference is simply the suction gun demonstrating that the whole scheme violates equal protection. Location preferences generally establish a ‘nudity preference for Indians over non-Indian families’ [citations omitted]. ”

US Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland—First Native American to serve as cabinet secretary — states that the legal classification of a person as Native American is a political decision, not a racial one, and therefore would not apply Equal Protection.

“Based on the merits of the equal protection claims of the plaintiffs, the majority of the UK appeals court held that the ICWA India-based classifications were political, not racial, and therefore must be considered on a reasonable basis,” quoted Haaland. to the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit decision to be discriminatory on the constitutionality of ICWA. “The majority then supported the constitutionality of the ICWA definition of ‘Indian child’, finding it ‘reasonably linked to the relationship of trust between the tribes and the federal government, as strengthen tribal sovereignty and self-government.’

Haaland said that ICWA promotes “a substantial government interest in the welfare of Indian children and their parents, the integrity of Indian families, and” the stability and security of ministries. red race. “

“[T]he has a legitimate interest in ‘protecting[ing] in the best interests of Indian children ‘by promoting placement of those children in environments that are more likely to foster connections with their Indian tribes and cultures,” argues Haaland. , adding that the many tribes are located close together and “have a common history and share linguistic, cultural and religious traditions. “

Brackeens also argued that ICWA inappropriately “commands” states to follow federal admissibility rules, in violation of the 10th Amendment.

“ICWA relies on state power in two independent ways: It exceeds the statistical powers of Congress and commands the States to implement a federal statutory regime,” Brackeens said in the summary of the report. surname.

“[T]His anti-establishment doctrine prevents Congress from backing States obligated to implement a federal statutory regime,” Brackeens also argued. “As Congress prescribes, ‘it must do so directly; it may not consider the state governments as its representative. ‘ But ICWA requires the States to follow Congress’ ‘according to State law’ child placement priorities in state child custody proceedings. “

However, according to Haaland, ICWA affects only the courts and not private or public agencies, and therefore an anti-commandary analysis is not appropriate.

“[C]Ongress does not violate anti-regime doctrine by enacting laws that ‘impose restrictions or empower private institutions,'” Haaland argued, later adding: “Because the law applies equally to the public and private organizations cannot be construed as enlisted public officers for federal service, ‘the doctrine against reprimand does not apply.’

Other non-Native American families who have attempted to adopt Native American children have also joined the Brackeens lawsuit.

[Image via Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images.]

Is there a trick we should know? [email protected] SCOTUS will handle the case about Native American Adoption Law

James Brien

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