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This filing is part of the ICWA class action case in South Dakota over the interpretation of 25 USC 1922 (emergency jurisdiction):
The third reason why this Court’s ruling on § 1922 has been inoperative is because the State’s Attorney for Pennington County, Defendant Mark Vargo, and the person Mr. Vargo has assigned to handle abuse and neglect cases in Pennington County, Deputy State’s Attorney Roxanne Erickson, see Erickson Dep. at 5-7, is failing to properly employ the federal standard. Indeed, Mr. Vargo’s interpretation of § 1922 threatens to forever prevent Plaintiffs from obtaining the benefit of this Court’s ruling on § 1922.6 The instant motion for partial summary judgment seeks to remove this final obstacle to the implementation of § 1922 in Defendants’ 48-hour hearings.
Plaintiffs deposed Ms. Erickson on May 25, 2016. Ms. Erickson testified that she interprets the word “harm” in § 1922’s standard “physical damage or harm” as including emotional harm. Id. at 131 made that ‘harm’ would also include emotional harm to the child. . . . [T]hat is how I would read it, that you have to show some form of harm which could include emotional harm.”). Thus, Defendant Vargo continues to use the state standard rather than the federal standard, given that Ms. Erickson interprets the federal standard to authorize DSS to consider emotional harm in determining whether to seek continued custody of an Indian child at the 48-hour hearing.
Here is the latest in the class action lawsuit arguing that ICWA is unconstitutional:
Finally, in one of the strangest and most unprecedented actions in the case, the Ohio AG filed an amicus brief in support of Goldwater and against the Arizona AG’s motion to dismiss. For those who have contacts in their state AG’s offices, we continue to encourage you to be in touch with them and offer to provide information regarding ICWA and this case.
Quite the first paragraph:
By honoring the moral imperatives enshrined in our Constitution, this nation has successfully shed much of its history of legally sanctioned discrimination on the basis of race or ethnicity. We have seen in vivid, shameful detail how separate treatment is inherently unequal. Brown v. Board of Education, 347 U.S. 483, 495 (1954). There can be no law under our Constitution that creates and applies pervasive separate and unequal treatment to individuals based on a quantum of blood tracing to a particular race or ethnicity. This country committed itself to that principle when it ratified the Fourteenth Amendment and overturned Dred Scott v. Sandford, 60 U.S. 393 (1857), and when it abandoned Plessy v. Ferguson, 163 U.S. 537 (1896).
This complaint goes directly at the right of tribes to determine their tribal citizenry. From this paragraph on, the complaint bases everything on the “child’s race” or “Indian ancestry” and their “unequal treatment” under ICWA:
Most Indian tribes have only blood quantum or lineage requirements as prerequisites for membership. See Miss. Band of Choctaw Indians Const. art. III, § 1; Cherokee Nation Const. art. IV, § 1; Choctaw Nation of Okla. Const. art. II, § 1; Muscogee (Creek) Nation Const. art. III, § 2; Gila River Indian Community Const. art. III, § 1; Navajo Nation Code § 701; Guidelines for State Courts and Agencies in Indian Child Custody Proceedings, 80 Fed. Reg. 10146, 10153, B.3 (February 25, 2015) (“New Guidelines”). Consequently, ICWA’s definition of “Indian child” is based solely on the child’s race or ancestry.