Amicus Briefs in Haaland v. Brackeen

We have a total of 21 pro-ICWA Amicus Briefs. Here they are in some rough categories and some VERY rough summaries. In writing this post, I became overwhelmed at this stunning array of briefs and support for ICWA.

Government Briefs

NARF’s Tribal Government and Organizations Brief : this brief has the sign on of nearly 500 tribes and over 60 tribal organizations. It discusses ICWA as an exercise of the trust responsibility, and the political relationship of tribes.

Congressional Brief : 87 Members of Congress signed this brief defending ICWA in the four principle arguments in the case

State AG Brief : 23 states and the District of Columbia signed on to this brief, which highlights how ICWA allows and encourages tribal-state relations in the area of child welfare.

LA County Brief : from the county counsel at the largest child welfare system in the country, it discusses the importance of ICWA to LA County practice with a focus on relocation in particular

Semi-Party Brief

Bradshaw Brief : This brief is unique in that it primarily tells the story of Robyn Bradshaw, the grandmother who adopted her granddaughter who was the subject of the claims of the Cliffords, one of the three foster family plaintiffs in the case. Because the procedural posture of the case below, the Cliffords’ narrative of facts was allowed to go unchecked throughout the life of the case until now.

How Child Welfare Works Briefs

Family Defenders : a brief from parent attorneys/family defenders in more than 8 states, this brief discusses the constitutional rights afforded to parents and families, how those intersect with the child welfare system, and the importance of ICWA in that structure. It directly addresses the arguments made by the other side regarding the child welfare system.

American Bar Association : This brief directly takes on the contention that child welfare is the sole province of the states as well as discussing the legal complexity of the child welfare system.

Casey Family Programs and 26 Other Child Welfare and Adoption Organizations : A continuation of the original, wildly successful, “gold standard” brief from Baby Girl, this brief focuses on child welfare best practices and how ICWA creates, promotes, and supports them.

National Association of Counsel for Children and 30 Other Children’s Rights Organizations : In addition to discussion the Constitutional rights of families, this brief directly addresses how ICWA supports the best interests of children in state proceedings.

Former Foster Children : One of the briefs with a particular place in my heart, this brief allowed Native youth to tell their lived experience to the Court.

How Adoption Works Brief

Non-Native Adoptive Parents : while the plaintiffs in this case were not adoptive parents, this brief directly addresses how ICWA actually works in voluntary adoptions.

Law Professor Briefs

Ablavsky Brief : The originalism brief

Administrative and Constitutional Law Professors : this brief addresses three main issues–federal power, anti-commandeering, and delegation

Indian Law Professors : this brief focuses on the exclusive power of Congress to legislate on behalf of Indians as a political class

American Historical Association : this brief provides historical context, especially around the early efforts (or lack thereof) of state child welfare systems and Native children

Medical Organizations

American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Medical Association : ICWA works directly to address the attendant physical and emotional trauma of federal and state policies designed to destroy tribal families and extended tribal networks

American Psychological Association (specifically including the associations of Texas, Louisiana, and Indianan) and the Society of Indian Psychologists : The benefits for children of being parented by Indian adults

Interest Groups

ACLU : ICWA is not a race based law

Constitutional Accountability Center : Originalism and anti-commandeering

National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center : The ramifications, specifically to VAWA, if “Indian” is a racial classification

Sen. Abourezk/Lakota People’s Law Project : Passage of ICWA and issues in South Dakota

Deadline to Sign on to SCOTUS Tribal Amicus Brief, Haaland v. Brackeen

Deadline is August 15 at 12pm EASTERN. If you are SIGNING ON for a tribe, email dougherty@narf.org.

If you want to know if a tribe has signed on or need a copy of the brief, feel free to harass me at fort@msu.edu.

From NARF:

Tribes – show your support for the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA)! All federally recognized Tribes are invited to sign on to the Haaland v. Brackeen Tribal Amicus Brief in a show of unity and support for ICWA, Native children, and Native families.

There is no cost to join this brief and over 260 Tribes have already signed on. 

Tribal Nations interested in signing the brief must do so no later than next Monday, August 15, 2022. If your Tribe would like to add its name to the brief, please reach out to NARF Senior Staff Attorney Erin Dougherty Lynch at dougherty@narf.org as soon as possible.

Please note that if your Tribe signed on to a previous brief when this case was before the Fifth Circuit, you will NOT be automatically added to this Tribal Amicus Brief―NARF still needs is an affirmative statement that your Tribal Nation would like to join the brief.

Again, please email Erin Dougherty Lynch at dougherty@narf.org to sign on to the brief.  If you would like a copy of the brief or have questions about whether your Tribe has already signed on to the brief, please email fort@msu.edu.

NCAI Amicus Brief in Merrill v. Milligan

On January 24, 2022, a unanimous three-judge court in the Milligan case blocked Alabama’s newly drawn congressional map. The Court ordered the state Legislature to draft a new congressional map that complies with the Voting Rights Act by including two districts where Black voters have the opportunity to elect candidates of their choice. The Supreme Court is now hearing the case.

Here is NCAI’s amicus brief in the matter.

SCOTUS Holds 6-3 that ANCs are “Indian Tribes” Eligible for CARES Act Funding

Here is the opinion in Yellen v. Confederated Tribes of the Chehalis Reservation.

Materials here.

Post-Argument Letter Briefing in Yellen v. Chehalis

Here:

2021.04.23 Chehalis Letter to USSC Clerk of the Court

2021-4-22 ANCs response letter

Confederated Tribes Letter Re Oral Argument Correction 4 20 21 [Ute Tribe/Patterson firm]

US Letter 20-543 20-544

Background materials here.

Respondents’ Briefs and Amicus Briefs in Yellen v. Chehalis

Here (the remainder of the briefs are on the Yellen v. Chehalis backgrounds materials page):

Brief of the Confederated Chehalis Tribes

Brief of the Ute Tribe

Amicus Brief of Academics

Amicus Brief of Bear River Band of Rohnerville Rancheria

Amicus Brief of Raul Grijalva

Amicus Brief of the States

Amicus Brief of Tribal Organizations

Yellen v. Confederated Tribes of the Chehalis Reservation Background Materials

Here are the merits briefs:

Brief of Alaska Native Village Corporation Association Inc.

Brief of the United States

Brief of the Confederated Chehalis Tribes

Brief of the Ute Tribe

United States Reply

Alaska Native Village Corporation Association Reply

Chehalis Letter

Post-Argument Letters:

2021.04.23 Chehalis Letter to USSC Clerk of the Court

2021-4-22 ANCs response letter

Confederated Tribes Letter Re Oral Argument Correction 4 20 21 [Ute Tribe/Patterson firm]

US Letter 20-543 20-544

Amicus Briefs Supporting Petitioners:

Amicus Brief of Alaska Congressional Delegation

Amicus Brief of Assn of Alaska Housing Authorities

Amicus Brief of Cook Inlet Region Inc.

Amicus Brief of the Alaska Federation of Natives

Amicus Brief of the State of Alaska

Amicus Briefs Supporting Respondents:

Amicus Brief of Academics

Amicus Brief of Bear River Band of Rohnerville Rancheria

Amicus Brief of Raul Grijalva

Amicus Brief of the States

Amicus Brief of Tribal Organizations

Cert Stage Briefs

Mnuchin v Chehalis Cert Petition

Alaska Native Corps Cert Petition

Members of Congress Amicus Brief

State of Alaska Amicus Brief

Chehalis Brief in Opposition

Ute Tribe BIO

Cheyenne River Sioux BIO

ANVCA Reply

Federal Petitioner’s Reply

D.C. Circuit materials:

Opinion

Chehalis et al Brief

Navajo et al Brief

NCAI Brief

ANVCA Brief

US Brief

Alaska Federation of Natives Amicus Brief

Cook Inlet Region Amicus Brief

Chehalis et al Reply

Navajo et al Reply

District Court materials:

1 Complaint

3 Complaint

4 Motion for TRO

5 Motion for TRO

21 US Brief

23 Ahtna Amicus Brief

25 Gila River Amicus Brief

30 Chehalis Reply

36 DCT Order

76-2 CRST MSJ

77 Chehalis MSJ

78-1 Alaska Corps MSJ

79-1 Mnuchin MSJ

81 AFN Brief

82 NCAI Amicus Brief

97 DCT Order

99 Chelahis Motion for Stay Pending Appeal

102 Calista Response

103 Federal Response

104 ANC Response

105 Ahtna Response

106 Chehalis Reply

107 DCT Order on Stay

Indian Law Professors Amicus Brief in Fulton v. City of Philadelphia

Here:

Amicus Brief of Indian Law Professors

An excerpt:

Amici write to explain how the long and shameful history of treatment of Indian children by the child welfare system in the United States demonstrates the dangers of and substantial harms inflicted by discrimination in this setting, including in particular discrimination based on the religious beliefs of government employees or agents

Miigwetch to April Youpee-Roll for taking the lead!

D.C. Circuit Briefs in Alaska Corps Eligibility for CARES Act Funding

Here are the materials in Confederated Tribes of the Chehalis Reservation v. Mnuchin:

Chehalis et al Brief

Navajo et al Brief

NCAI Brief

Case tag here.