@nativevoiceone Matthew Fletcher #umichlaw quick take on #SCOTUS #ICWA decision with Native America Calling host Shawn Spruce #Native #Indigenous ♬ original sound – Native Voice One
The U.S. Supreme Court rejected what many legal observers considered the most serious challenge to the Indian Child Welfare Act in the law’s 45-year history. With a 7-2 vote, the High Court overturns the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals ruling that deemed some aspects of ICWA unconstitutional. In the majority opinion, Justice Amy Coney Barrett wrote “we reject all of petitioners’ challenges to the statute.”
The Native American Rights Fund issued a statement saying they are still reviewing the details of the decision but that they are “overcome with joy that the Supreme Court has upheld the Indian Child Welfare Act, which is widely regarded as the gold standard of child welfare.”
The National Congress of American Indians says, ” ICWA is crucial for the safety and well-being of Native children and families and the future of Native peoples and Tribal Nations. The positive impact of today’s decision will be felt across generations.”
The National Indian Health Board says “this victory comes after Indian Country joined together to support ICWA in a historically strong showing of unity.”
You can read the decision here.
The Goldwater Institute, a high profile opponent of ICWA for decades and a major backer of the most recent challenge, called the decision “shameful,” and believes the court at least “left open the door to future lawsuits challenging the race-based injustices caused by ICWA.” Goldwater and other challengers to ICWA insist the law gives unlawful preference to a racial class of citizens, an argument the Supreme Court again re-affirms as baseless.
Native resources on ICWA:
National Indian Child Welfare Assoc. (NICWA)
National Congress of American Indians
The ICWA Law Center
The Native American Rights Fund (NARF’s history of ICWA)
Turtle Talk Blog’s Brackeen v Haaland resources
Rebecca Nagle’s This Land podcast and NDN Collective talks with Rebecca Nagle about Brackeen v. Haaland
You can reference recent Native America Calling shows for context on the Brackeen v Haaland Supreme Court Case:
March 20, 2023 – Behind the legal arguments for ICWA: Perspectives of ICWA from those who have lived it with Adriann Ricker (enrolled member of the Fort Peck Assiniboine and Sioux Tribes), research associate at Johns Hopkins School for Nursing; Mary Annette Pember (Red Cliff Ojibwe), national correspondent for ICT; and Julia Lurie, journalist at Mother Jones.
November 10 2022 – The fate of ICWA: The legal debate from a Native perspective following the U.S. Supreme Court oral arguments…with Matthew Fletcher (Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians), law professor at the University of Michigan Law School and author of the Turtle Talk blog; independent journalist Suzette Brewer (citizen of the Cherokee Nation); and Dr. Sarah Kastelic (Alutiiq), director of the National Indian Child Welfare Association.
September 20, 2021 – ICWA: Federal protections for children under constant legal pressure: Guest host Rebecca Nagle examines how we got here and who is behind the legal efforts to dismantle ICWA with guests Matthew Fletcher (Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians) law professor at Michigan State University’s college of law and author of the Turtle Talk blog, Sandy Whitehawk (Sicangu Lakota) – Elder in Residence at the ICWA Law Center, and Shana King (citizen of the Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara Nation), parent advocate at the ICWA Law Center.
January 23, 2020 – The high stakes hearing for ICWA: Tribal leaders and ICWA legal watchers weigh in on the Fifth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals decision to rehear the case en banc. Guests are independent journalist Suzette Brewer (Cherokee Nation), Native American Rights Fund staff attorney Dan Lewerenz (Iowa Tribe of Kansas and Nebraska) and National Congress of American Indians general counsel Derrick Beetso.