I am writing to request that sign on to the state tribal amicus briefs in support of the Respondents in Adoptive Couple v. Baby Girl, an ICWA-related case before the U.S. Supreme Court that has potentially sweeping ramifications for all of Indian Country far beyond issues in child welfare.
The Tribal Supreme Court Project is coordinating these briefs that are due Thursday, March 28, 2013.
Tribes in our state have already drafted this brief, and the more tribes from who sign on to it will help send the message that Indian Country is unified in its defense against this attack on ICWA and tribal sovereignty.
Please contact immediately to add to the list of tribes on this brief.
Alaska. Contact Heather Kendall Miller (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Arizona. Contact Joe Sparks (email@example.com)
California. Contact Delia Parr (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Minnesota. Contact Andrew Small (PMB@bpslawfirm.com)
Oklahoma. Contact Professor Kelly Stoner (email@example.com)
Wisconsin. Contact Colette Routel (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Background and Implications
This case involves a Cherokee father, a non-Native mother, and their daughter Veronica. Without the father’s knowledge or consent, the mother attempted to place Veronica up for adoption to a South Carolina couple. Citing circumvention of ICWA, the lack of paternal consent, and the inapplicability of an exception to ICWA called “the Existing Indian Family Exception,” every lower court has ruled in favor of the father who has had custody of his daughter for over a year now.
Still, the couple who tried to adopt Veronica have used considerable resources to retain the strongest possible counsel (their attorney has won 30 out of 31 cases she has argued before the Supreme Court) and a full-service public relations firm in their successful appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court. As you may well know, tribal interests have not fared well in cases brought before the Roberts Court.
The implications of a loss in this case go far beyond child custody matters. If the Supreme Court decides to take up the issue of ICWA’s constitutionality, as has been requested, it could threaten ICWA in its entirety and invalidate all laws, programs, and policies based on the political status of members of sovereign tribes.
That’s why I’m requesting your urgent action today.
I encourage you to review the National Indian Child Welfare Association’s information page on this case (www.nicwa.org/BabyVeronica), but please do not hesitate in taking measures to sign on to a brief today.