By Rob Capriccioso
"[T]he parent abandoned the Indian child before birth and never had custody of the child," Alito wrote for the majority that was joined by Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., and Justices Anthony M. Kennedy, Clarence Thomas and Stephen G. Breyer.
Little 'Baby Veronica' was adopted for more than two years, but an obscure law preventing the breakup of Native American families had forced her return to her father.
By Richard Wolf
In doing so, the justices expressed skepticism about a 1978 federal law that's intended to prevent the breakup of Native American families--but in this case may have created one between father and daughter that barely existed originally.
This posting sums up a key problem with the Court's ruling:
The Court’s Bizarre 1 Percent Rule
By Aura Bogado
Popular conversation about the ruling followed Alito’s lead. A headline in USA Today declared that the Supreme Court “gives 1% Cherokee girl to adoptive parents.” The obsession with classifying Natives by blood is a contemporary anomaly that society reserves rather exclusively for Natives. USA Today would have never run a headline in 2008, for example, that read, “Voters elect first 50% black President.” We’ve figured out ways to get so much right when it comes to race—but still almost unknowingly accept when so much is wrong, and fundamentally misunderstood, about tribal sovereignty.
So while it might take some time to tackle the new White House Council’s numerous goals, the language of its opening lines is notable. As I’ve written previously, many people are unaware of the distinct issues that come with being part of a federally recognized tribe in the U.S. While many people are repelled instinctively by racism when it appears in certain cultural venues—say, for example, the Washington football team’s mascot—there’s a lack of understanding among non-Natives about the unique political position that Natives hold, a position which stems from tribal sovereignty.
For more on the subject, see Media Misreports Native Adoption and ICWA Prevents Child Kidnapping.
Below: "Dusten Brown, Cherokee, reads to daughter Veronica at their home in Nowata, Oklahoma."