Supreme Court says Native adoptions can be given priority to tribal families

Supreme Court
The sun flares in the camera lens as it rises behind the U.S. Supreme Court building. (J. David Ake/AP)

Supreme Court says Native adoptions can be given priority to tribal families

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The Supreme Court on Thursday upheld all parts of a federal law, meant to remedy past government abuses, which gives preference to the foster care and adoption of Native American children by their relatives and tribes.

Justices considered the scope of the 1978 Indian Child Welfare Act in a case known as Haaland v. Brackeen. The law was passed to fix what Congress said was a disgraceful history in which Native American children were removed by the hundreds of thousands from their homes via adoption agencies and placed with white families or in group homes.

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The 7-2 opinions, written by Justice Amy Coney Barrett, left the statute entirely intact. Justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito dissented.

“Before us, a birth mother, foster and adoptive parents, and the State of Texas challenge the Act on multiple constitutional grounds. They argue that it exceeds federal authority, infringes state sovereignty, and discriminates on the basis of race,” Barrett wrote.

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The ICWA was challenged by several people and three states, including Texas. Plaintiffs argued the law requires state officials to put aside the typical standard of doing what is best for a child and rely on racial discrimination in a manner that was unconstitutional.

Meanwhile, tribes and their supporters argued the law is based on political distinctions and that Congress had decided the law was necessary in part to ensure the tribes had a future.

This is a developing story and will be updated.

© 2023 Washington Examiner

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