On Tuesday, January 16, an impressive array of state and national organizations joined in support of Tribal nations and representatives in defense of the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) and last week the opposition submitted their arguments.

The response was more limited to the State Plaintiffs’-Appellees’ Response Brief (Texas, Indian and Louisiana); Individual Plaintiffs’-Appellees’ Response Brief (seven people from the three states); Project on Fair Representation Amicus Brief; the Goldwater Institute et al. Amicus Brief; the state of Ohio Amicus Brief; and the Christian Alliance for Indian Child Welfare Amicus Brief .The arguments generally follow along a line that ICWA usurps state power and the commerce power in the US Constitution.
On October 4, a ruling by the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas, Brackeen V Zinke, Judge Reed O’Connor ruled that the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) is unconstitutional in its entirety based on the Equal Protection Clause and the 14th Amendment.

Ohio now joins Texas, Indian and Louisiana in opposition versus a multi-state brief in support of ICWA that includes California, Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Montana, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, Utah, Virginia, Washington, and Wisconsin.

The Amicus Brief by national organizations was headed up by Casey Family Programs. CWLA joined as part of 31 organizations in support of ICWA. The national organization’s brief was one of many that included: 325 Tribes, 57 Indian Organizations (AAIA, NCAI, NICWA, et al.), Constitutional Law Scholars Amicus Brief, United Keetoowah Band Amicus Brief, Native American Women et al. Amicus Brief, Navajo Nation (Proposed) Brief as Intervenor or Amicus and a brief by five members of Congress.
The court has put the case on an expedited schedule and has tentatively set argument for the week of March 11.

About the Author:

John Sciamanna is CWLA's Vice President of Public Policy.

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