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The Indian Child Welfare Act at 40

September 27, 2018

by Timothy Sandefur
September 27, 2018

Last week, I had the pleasure of participating in a panel on the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA), which turns 40 this year. This law—which creates a separate, and less-protective set of rules for child welfare, foster care, and adoption cases involving children of Native American ancestry—is the subject of about half a dozen of our lawsuits, in state and federal courts across the country.  On the panel with me was Matthew McGill, the lead attorney in the case of Brackeen v. Zinke, and Charles Rothfeld, who represented the birth father in the 2013 case of Adoptive Couple v. Baby Girl, which was the last ICWA case the Supreme Court heard.  Moderating the panel was Cato’s Walter Olson, who’s been writing about ICWA since long before the Institute got involved.

The article I held up in my opening remarks is our policy report, Escaping the ICWA Penalty Box. And you can learn more about the cases I mention in my remarks—the S.S. case, the J.P.C. case, the T.A.W. case, and the A.J.F. case—and more on our Equal Protection for Indian Children project page, or in my recent Weekly Standard article.

Timothy Sandefur is the Vice President for Litigation at the Goldwater Institute.



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