Cert Stage Filings In S.S. v. CRIT (ICWA Case)

This is the cert petition from the Arizona Court of Appeals decision applying ICWA to step-parent or third party adoptions, where Dad attempted to terminate Mom’s rights so Step-Mom could adopt children.

Cert petition filed by the Goldwater Institute purportedly on behalf of the children.

Amicus in Support of the Cert Petition filed by the Pacific Legal Foundation

Brief in Opposition filed by the Colorado River Indian Tribes

Goldwater Reply



Cert Petition Filed in ICWA Case out of Arizona

Here is the petition in S.S. v. The Colorado River Indian Tribes. Goldwater has filed cert on an Arizona Court of Appeals case the Arizona Supreme Court refused to review. Here is the Court of Appeals case.

Sorry for the delay in posting–I’m spending a few days trying to forget Goldwater exists.

Washington Supreme Court Explicitly Rejects Existing Indian Family Exception


In only the third Washington Supreme Court case to directly interpret ICWA and the first to interpret WICWA, the Court holds In re Crews (the case that established EIF in Washington) is overturned.

Under our above interpretation of ICWA and WICWA, if a case (1) meets the definition of a “child custody proceeding” and (2) involves an Indian child, both acts shall apply. ICWA and WICWA recognize only two exceptions to coverage–delinquency
proceedings and custody disputes following divorce where one parent retains custody of the Indian child. Our interpretation therefore overrules Crews to the extent that it embraced the existing Indian family exception because it recognizes no additional exceptions to coverage outside of the two expressly stated in ICWA and WICWA.

ICWA and WICWA also apply based on the child’s membership, not the parent’s:

For these reasons, we hold that whether the parent whose rights are being terminated is non-Indian is immaterial to a finding that ICWA and WICWA apply. If the child at issue is an Indian child and that child is involved in a child custody proceeding, ICWA and WICWA shall apply.

Craig Dorsay represented the tribal amicus brief (including oral arguments), and NARF and Indian Law Clinic at MSU Law provided strategy and research support in this case. Previous coverage here.