The Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA), a 1978 law that regulates removal and placement of Native American children, is being challenged as unconstitutional in a case currently before the Supreme Court, Haaland v. Brackeen. Plaintiffs include non-Native couples who are seeking to foster or adopt children with Native American ancestry (even though Native relatives are willing to adopt them), a biological parent who hopes to have their child be adopted by non-Native people, and three states: Texas, Louisiana and Indiana.
Congress enacted the ICWA in response to a long and tragic history of separating Native American children from their families. Even with ICWA in place, Native children continue to be overrepresented in foster care. Opponents of the law say it exceeds Congress’ power, violates states’ rights, and imposes unconstitutional race-based classifications.
Discussing what’s at stake in this legal challenge are UBalt Law Prof. Kimberly Wehle, who teaches Administrative Law and Federal Courts; April Youpee-Roll, a lawyer with the Los Angeles firm Munger, Tolles & Olson, and a member of the Assiniboine and Sioux Tribes; Prof. Neoshia Roemer, who teaches Native American Law and Family Law at the University of Idaho College of Law; and April Olson, a lawyer with Rothstein Donatelli in Tempe, AZ, who specializes in Indian law.
Prof. Shanta Trivedi, faculty director of the Sayra and Neil Meyerhoff Center for Families, Children and the Courts at UBalt Law, will moderate the discussion. The webinar will be recorded for those who cannot participate in the live event. Register for the webinar.