SCOTUS Rules Against Native Father in Adoptive Couple v. Baby Girl >>

June 25th, 2013

SCOTUS Rules Against Native Father in Adoptive Couple v. Baby Girl

Today the United States Supreme Court issued its decision in Adoptive Couple v. Baby Girl (the Baby Veronica case), which involved a reading of the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA). The Court, in a 5-4 decision authored by Justice Samuel Alito, ruled that ICWA does not prevent the termination of the parental rights of the Native biological father in this case. The Court limited the application of ICWA’s provisions that seek to prevent the involuntary termination of parental rights to an Indian child. However, the Court did not rule on the constitutionality of ICWA — and the Act remains in effect. The case is sent back to the South Carolina state courts to determine whether the father has custodial rights to Baby Veronica under other provisions of ICWA or other laws.

Chief Justice Roberts, and Justices Kennedy, Thomas, and Breyer joined Alito to make up the majority.

Justices Thomas and Breyer issued concurring opinions.

Justices Scalia and Sotomayor wrote separate dissenting opinions. Sotomayor’s dissent was joined by Justice Ginsburg and Kagan, and by Justice Scalia in part.

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