Lunch in Indian Country CLE: Supreme Court Update on Indian Law [with Fletcher]

Supreme Court Update on Indian Law

Co-Sponsored by the State Bar of Arizona and the State Bar’s Indian Law Section

January 18, 2023, 12:00-1:00 MST

1.0 Total CLE Unit

Join Professor Matthew Fletcher as he reviews the most recent Supreme Court decisions affecting Indian Country.

Faculty:

Matthew Fletcher, Harry Burns Hutchins Collegiate Professor of Law, Michigan Law

 
Chairpersons:
Doreen McPaul, President, Tribal In-House Counsel Association
Virjinya Torrez, Assistant Attorney General, Pascua Yaqui Tribe

Register: https://azbar.inreachce.com/Details/Information/1661e72a-831b-45a2-ad84-a06a235557ee

Native America Calling Show Today — The Fate of ICWA

Here.

Each side presented their oral arguments Wednesday to the U.S. Supreme Court for the most serious challenge to the Indian Child Welfare Act in recent memory. The decision in Haaland v. Brackeen will be a major force in the future of ICWA and the scope of tribal sovereignty. Today on Native America Calling, Shawn Spruceanalyzes the legal debate from a Native perspective with Matthew Fletcher (Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians), law professor at the University of Michigan Law School and author of the Turtle Talk blog; independent journalist Suzette Brewer (citizen of the Cherokee Nation); and Dr. Sarah Kastelic (Alutiiq), director of the National Indian Child Welfare Association.

Fletcher and Khalil on ICWA and Preemption

Posted an earlier draft of this before, but here is the all-but-final version, now available on SSRN here.

Here is “Preemption, Commandeering, and the Indian Child Welfare Act,” published in the Wisconsin Law Review.

Texas better do what it’s told.

Prof. Fort on Morning Edition and Additional Brackeen Coverage

Morning Edition

“ICWA doesn’t prevent an individualized assessment of the best placement for each child,” says Kathryn Fort, director of the Indian Law Clinic at Michigan State University. State courts do this type of assessment “every day,” she says, adding, “I personally don’t know a state court judge who would be comfortable being told that they weren’t allowed to do an individualized assessment.”

But for an Indian child, Fort says, that individualized assessment includes consideration of the child’s relationship with her relatives, her language, her religion, and her tribal tradition.

“A child isn’t separate from her tribe,” she adds. “That child is sacred to that tribe.”

Romper

WaPo (check out Fred Urbina’s picture!)

Vox

AP

The Guardian

Traverse City Record Eagle

Oral arguments in the case are tomorrow (11/9) at 10am. Live audio can be streamed here.

Briefing Completed in Haaland v. Brackeen [ICWA]

With the reply briefs filed yesterday, all of the briefing is completed in the Supreme Court case Haaland v. Brackeen. Oral argument will be at the Court on November 9th. There will be a decision before the end of June, 2023, though there’s no good way to determine when that will arrive other than that.

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