October 31, 2017
Filed friend of the court brief in the Texas Court of Appeals.
VICTORY! After our brief was filed, the parties reached a settlement that allowed the adoption to proceed.
Two-year-old Andy* is a Texan child who’s lived most of his life with his foster parents, Charles and Janet.* They want to adopt him—and his birth parents support that. If Andy were white, or black, or of nearly any other race, that adoption would probably be approved swiftly. But because Andy is part Navajo and part Cherokee, a different law applies to him: the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) which imposes race-based restrictions on adoption. Those rules require that Indian children be adopted by “Indian families”—even if they’re of different tribes—rather than by adults of other races.
When Navajo tribal officials objected to the adoption in this case, a Texas trial judge agreed, and rejected it. Within hours, Texas officials announced plans to send Andy to New Mexico to live with a Navajo family he’s met only once, for three hours—and who have not filed an adoption request for him. Charles and Janet want to give Andy the permanent family he needs—but their skin is the wrong color.
As part of its Equal Protection for Indian Children project, the Goldwater Institute has filed a friend of the court brief in support of Charles and Janet’s appeal.
*-not their real names
Timothy Sandefur is the Vice President for Legal Affairs at the Goldwater Institute’s Scharf-Norton Center for Constitutional Litigation and holds the Duncan Chair in Constitutional Government. He litigates to promote economic liberty, private property rights, free speech, and other crucial values in states across the country. Timothy is the author of eight books, including most… Read more...
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