John Echohawk et al. on Adoptive Couple v. Baby Girl: “The Adoption Industry’s Ugly Side”

John Echohawk, Jaqueline Pata, and Terry Cross have a scathing op-ed on Politico here.

An excerpt:

Poke beneath the basic facts, though, and you will find the ugly underbelly of the American adoption business. All across this country – but especially in states that are home to multiple Native American Tribes – unethical adoption attorneys are purposely circumventing the federal law that is meant to protect Native American children. Even worse are the continuing attempts by some adoption lawyers to take advantage of active duty service members in the process of being deployed to combat, or in active deployments.

Brown’s case is a sad example of both of these disturbing trends. At its very heart, this case is about a father’s deep desire to raise his daughter, named Veronica. Veronica’s mother and Brown were engaged when she was conceived, but her mother broke off the engagement while Brown was serving in the Army and stationed at Fort Sill, Okla. Unbeknownst to Brown, his fiancé began the process of placing her child up for adoption.

In the final months of pregnancy, the mother cut off all communication with Brown and worked closely with an agency and attorney to place the child with a non-Indian couple from South Carolina, the Capobiancos. Brown was not informed of Veronica’s birth on September 15, 2009. Instead, Veronica was placed with the Capobiancos three days after her birth in Oklahoma, and they relocated her to South Carolina shortly thereafter.

Four months later, the day before Brown’s scheduled deployment to Iraq, the couple’s lawyer (who was also the lawyer for the adoption agency) finally served Brown with notice of their intent to adopt Veronica. The notice was served to Brown in the parking lot of a mall.

Colorado Public Radio on David Getches (Interview with Charles Wilkinson and John Echohawk

Remembering CU-Boulder’s David Getches
by Elise Thatcher

Listen here.

It sounds kind of obvious. If a state or the federal government signs a treaty, it should honor the agreement. But as recently as the 1970s that wasn’t true of treaties signed with Indian tribes. David Getches fought to change that. During his legal career, he also worked on other big issues in the West, like water law and public lands. Most recently, Getches was the dean of the law school at CU-Boulder. He died earlier this month at age 68 of pancreatic cancer. Two of his colleagues join Ryan Warner. John Echohawk heads  the Native American Rights Fund and Professor Charles Wilkinson teaches law at CU.

John Echohawk on Keith Harper for the Tenth Circuit

From the Tulsa World:

At the Native American Rights Fund, we have always hired the best and the brightest to advocate for Indian rights and the orderly development of Indian law. One of the most outstanding lawyers to ever work with us is Keith M. Harper, who has been in the news lately as a potential nominee for a position on the 10th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals.

No Native American lawyer has ever served on an appellate court in the federal justice system. I do not know if it is true that my colleague will be nominated to serve on the 10th Circuit. If it is true, President Obama is to be commended on his fine choice. I do know that Harper is highly qualified and deserves to be nominated and confirmed.

During my 40 years in the practice of American Indian law, we Native attorneys have worked toward the day that one of us would break through the glass ceiling and be named as an appellate judge. At 64, I and most other Native lawyers of my generation are not seeking judicial appointments, because those should go to younger people who can serve on the bench for a long time. Harper is 43 and could have an extended future as an appellate judge.

I know Harper and his work very well and can attest to his upstanding character and his diligent work ethic. He has a first-rate mind, a compassionate heart and an even temperament. He enjoys the respect of his peers and a well-deserved reputation as a thorough litigator and a fair judge. He was a NARF senior staff attorney for 11 years and his success as a litigator is a matter of public record.

Today, he is a partner with Kilpatrick Stockton LLP and chairman of its Native American Practice Group. He served the Obama-Biden presidential transition on the energy and environment cluster and served Obama for America on the National Finance Committee and as chairman of the Native American Domestic Policy Committee.

Continue reading

John Echohawk on The Nation’s List of Potential Supreme Court Nominees

From The Nation, which lists 8 potential nominees in their slide show:

Slide Show: Who Will Be Obama’s Next Supreme Court Nominee?
Justice John Paul Stevens, nearing 90, confirmed recently that he will retire from the Supreme Court this summer. He “concluded that it would be in the best interests of the Court to have my successor appointed and confirmed well in advance of the commencement of the Court’s next term,” he told the New York Times. Stevens’s retirement will give President Obama his second opportunity to name a Supreme Court justice, but will not shift the ideological balance on the court. The following possible nominees are some of The Nation‘s top choices for a replacement.

John Echohawk, a legendary lawyer who has run the Native American Rights Fund for more than thirty years, would bring a perspective to the court that has been overlooked for 230 years.

And for our Michigan readers, Gov. Jennifer Granholm made the list as well.