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ICWA Supreme Court Case: PLEASE ACT NOW

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NICWA urgently requests your immediate action on three time-sensitive matters regarding 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. 

All supporting amicus briefs in this case must be filed by Thursday, March 28, 2013. For months, the Tribal Supreme Court Project, of which NICWA is a part of, has coordinated the development of these briefs. With one week until they are due, we seek your help in getting more tribes and states to sign on in support of the Respondents in this case, the Brown family and the Cherokee Nation.  

 
Please take the following actions below immediately and share this message with your personal networks.
 
More information on this case can be found at www.nicwa.org/BabyVeronica.
If your tribe is located in Alaska, Arizona, California, Minnesota, Oklahoma, or Wisconsin…
 
Please cut and paste the text below into an email, fill in the information specific to your tribe and state, and send to your tribal leadership today.
 

Dear ,


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 (kendall@narf.org)

Arizona. Contact Joe Sparks (joesparks@sparkslawaz.com)

California. Contact Delia Parr (dparr@calindian.org)

Minnesota. Contact  Andrew Small (PMB@bpslawfirm.com)

Oklahoma. Contact Professor Kelly Stoner (kstoner@okcu.edu)

Wisconsin.  Contact Colette Routel (colette.routel@wmitchell.edu)

 

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.

 

Sincerely,

 

If your tribe is not located in any of the states above…

 
Please cut and paste the text below into an email, fill in the information specific to your tribe and state, and send to your tribal leadership today.

 

Dear ,


I am writing to request that sign on to one of the national 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. can sign on to one of two tribal briefs:

 

1) The Association on American Indian Affairs/National Indian Child Welfare Association/National Congress of American Indians national tribal brief that will detail ICWA’s legislative history from the tribal perspective; the need for ICWA in 1978; and the ongoing need for ICWA today. The contact to sign on to this brief is Richard Guest (richardg@narf.org).

 

2) The constitutional issues national tribal brief will address the constitutional issues detailed below. The contact to sign on to this brief is Greg Smith (GSmith@hobbsstraus.com).

 

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.

 

Sincerely,

A request to all supporters…
Finally, NICWA asks all supporters to contact your state attorney general today. Attorneys General from several states will submit an amicus brief supporting Respondents in the Baby Veronica case. To find your state attorney general, click here.

 

Call or email your state attorney general immediately and request they sign on to the State Attorneys General amicus brief in support of Respondents in the Adoptive Couple v. Baby Girl before the U.S. Supreme Court. 

 

Ask them to contact Dawn Williams (Dawn.Williams@azag.gov) from the Office of the Arizona Attorney General to sign on.