The Supreme Court will review the law on the adoption of Native American children | News
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court has agreed to hear a case involving a federal law that gives preference to Native Americans in the adoption of Native children.
The high court said on Monday it would take up the case which presents the most significant legal challenges for the Indian Child Welfare Act since it was passed in 1978. The law has long been championed by Native American leaders as a way to preserve their families and culture.
The law gives priority to Native American families in fostering and adoption proceedings involving Native children, and imposes reporting and other requirements on states. A federal appeals court in April upheld the law and the power of Congress to enact it. But the judges also found some of the law’s provisions unconstitutional, including preferences for placement of Native American children in Native adoptive families and in Native foster homes.
The case will not be heard until after the start of the High Court’s new term in October.
Texas, Louisiana, Indiana and seven people — three non-Native couples and the birth mother of a Native American child who was adopted by a non-Native family — had sued provisions of the law. Children are registered or could be registered as Navajo or Cherokee, White Earth Band of Ojibwe and Ysleta del Sur Pueblo.
A federal district court in Texas initially sided with the class of plaintiffs in 2018 and struck down much of the law, finding it unconstitutional because it was based on race and violated the Equal Protection Clause.
But in 2019, a three-judge federal appeals court panel voted 2-1 to overrule the district court and uphold the law. The full court then agreed to hear the case and struck down some provisions. He upheld the determination that the law is based on the political relationship between the 574 federally recognized tribes and the US government, not race.
The Biden administration asked the Supreme Court to reconsider the case, arguing that the provisions should not have been removed.
Before the passage of the Indian Child Welfare Act, between 25 and 35 percent of Native American children were removed from their homes and placed with adoptive families, foster families or institutions. Most were placed with white families or in boarding schools in an attempt to assimilate them.