This should be a call to arms for Indian country. This is presumably a well funded organization with a litigation, scholarly, and public relations strategy. Indian country lost Adoptive Couple v. Baby Girl because the adoption industry won the PR battle before Indian country even noticed. It’s time to act.
From the press release we received. This will become the third ongoing federal lawsuit challenging ICWA:
Goldwater Institute to File Class Action Lawsuit Against Indian Child Welfare Act
Institute launching Equal Protection for Indian Children Project to reform federal and state laws that discriminate against abused and neglected Native American children
Contact: Starlee Coleman, (602) 758-9162
Phoenix—Tomorrow, Tuesday, July 7, the Goldwater Institute will launch a new project to reform the Indian Child Welfare Act and similar state laws that give abused and neglected Native American children fewer rights and protections than other American children. Part of this project will be a class action lawsuit.
“When an abused child is removed from his or her home and placed in foster care or made available for adoption, judges are required to make a decision about where the child will live based on the child’s best interest. Except for Native American children. Courts are bound by federal law to disregard a Native American child’s best interest and place the child in a home with other Native Americans, even if it is not in his or her best interest,” said Darcy Olsen, president of the Goldwater Institute. “We want federal and state laws to be changed to give abused and neglected Native American children the same protections that are given to all other American children: the right to be placed in a safe home based on their best interests, not based on their race.”
On July 7, the Goldwater Institute will file a federal class action lawsuit to challenge the constitutionality of core provisions of the federal Indian Child Welfare Act. The same day, the Institute will release an investigative report that documents how federal law leaves Native American children with fewer protections under the law than all other American children, and the serious consequences that have resulted from this unequal treatment. Recommendations for changes to state and federal law will also be announced.
Two weeks ago both the House and Senate passed the Native American Child Protection Act that for the first time requires prospective adoptive and foster parents to be fingerprinted. The Bureau of Indian Affairs is currently considering turning recent guidelines into formal federal rules that would further entrench the legal discrimination against Native American children.
Clint Bolick, the vice president of litigation at the Goldwater Institute, litigated a class action in Texas in 1995 that was the impetus behind the federal Multi-ethnic Placement Act, which outlawed delays or denials in foster care or adoption placements on the basis of the race, color, or national origin of the child or the adults involved.
Media is invited to watch via live stream a press event that will formally announce the details of the lawsuit, release the investigation, and policy recommendations, and screen an original 8-minute documentary film. The briefing will feature Dr. William B. Allen, the former chairman of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights.
What: Press conference announcing the Equal Protection for Indian Children Project and federal class action lawsuit
When: Tuesday, July 7, 2015, 9:00 a.m. Pacific time
Who: Press event will feature Darcy Olsen, president of the Goldwater Institute; Clint Bolick, the Institute’s vice president of litigation; Mark Flatten, the author of the Institute’s investigative report to be released; Dr. William Allen
Please contact Starlee Coleman at scoleman@goldwaterinstitute or (602) 758-9162 with questions.