Other Cooley materials are here.
Other Cooley materials are here.
Fletcher and Fort posted “Intimate Choice and Autonomy: Adoptive Couple v. Baby Girl,” forthcoming in CRITICAL RACE JUDGMENTS (Cambridge Univ. Press, eds. Bennett Capers, Devon Carbado, Robin A. Lenhart, and Angela Onwuachi-Willig) (forthcoming 2021).
As if there was any doubt, we have reached the opposite outcome as the Supreme Court did back in 2013. A few excerpts:
This case is about a little girl (Baby Girl) who is a citizen of the Cherokee Nation, like her father, grandparents, and a multitude of generations before her. American Indian tribal citizenship with a federally recognized tribe is a unique concept in American law. E.g., Santa Clara Pueblo v. Martinez, 436 U.S. 49, 55 (1978) (“[Indian tribes] have power to make their own substantive law in internal matters. . . .”). Tribal citizens are beneficiaries of the federal government’s trust relationship with Indian tribes, and the federal government has promised to tribal citizens for centuries to assist in the maintenance of tribal governments, cultures, and sovereignty. Worcester v. Georgia, 31 U.S. 515, 556 (1831) (“[The Cherokee treaty], thus explicitly recognizing the national character of the Cherokees, and their right of self government; thus guarantying their lands; assuming the duty of protection, and of course pledging the faith of the United States for that protection; has been frequently renewed, and is now in full force.”).
The ethically dubious acts of the Petitioners in this case extends to this Court’s amici. Several amici invoked the racist dog whistle of referring to the Petitioners as the “only family” Baby Girl has ever known. E.g., Brief for Guardian Ad Litem, as Representative of Respondent Baby Girl, Supporting Reversal at 56 (“Indeed, it is hard to imagine what liberty interest is more important to a 27-month old child than maintaining the only family bonds she has ever known, absent a strong showing of necessity.”) (emphasis added); Brief of Amica Curiae Birth Mother in Support of Petitioners at 3 (“The decision below effectively negated Birth Mother’s decision to place Baby Girl with Adoptive Couple, and ripped Baby Girl from the only family she has ever known, in derogation of both Birth Mother’s and Baby Girl’s rights and expectations under state law.”) (emphasis added); Brief of Amici Curiae Bonnie and Shannon Hofer; Roger, Loreal, and Sierra Lauderbaugh; and Craig and Esther Adams in Support of Petitioners at 38 (“[T]he lower court took non-Indian Petitioners’ adopted Indian daughter from them – destroying the only family she has ever known.”) (emphasis added); Brief of Amici Curiae National Council for Adoption in Support of Petitioners at 13-14 (“ICWA is implemented in some cases to traumatize children by forcing them into completely unknown environments, traumatizing them by removal from the only family they’d ever felt a connection with and imposing the developmental delays that come with the traumatic removal from a secure attachment.”) (emphasis added). It appears that for some of our amici, the “only family” that matters is the non-Indian Petitioners’ family. For these amici, the Indian family and other biological relatives are strangers and foreigners. The only pain and shame of removal and separation that matters is that of the non-Indian family. It is apparent the “only family” dog whistle is designed to distract our attention from the ever-present bias against Indian parents and relatives in the child welfare and adoption system. This we will not accept. As noted above, this Court long has been complicit in dehumanizing Indian people. In Professor Harris’ words, “[C]ourts established whiteness as a prerequisite to the exercise of enforceable property rights.” Harris, supra, at 1724. No longer. We additionally suspect that this form of advocacy implicates American Bar Association Rules of Professional Conduct 3.4 (Fairness to Opposing Party and Counsel), 3.5 (Impartiality & Decorum of the Tribunal), 4.4 (Respect for Rights of Third Persons), and 8.4 (Misconduct).
 One commentator even referred to the Cherokee family here, who descend from an Indigenous nation that has been present in this hemisphere since time immemorial, as “foreign.” Thomas Sowell, Indian Child Welfare Act does not protect kids, Denton Record-Chronicle, Feb. 1, 2018, at 6A (“This little girl is just the latest in a long line of Indian children who have been ripped out of the only family they have ever known and given to someone who is a stranger to them, often living on an Indian reservation that is foreign to them.”) (emphasis added).
Here are the merits briefs:
Here are the amicus briefs supporting petitioner:
Here are the amicus briefs supporting respondent:
Here are the cert stage materials:
Here are the Ninth Circuit materials:
Here are the district court (D. Mont.) materials:
Here is the petition in Eglise Baptiste Bethanie De Ft. Lauderdale, Inc. v. Seminole Tribe of Florida:
(1) Is a Native American tribe sovereignly immune from a civil suit for damages caused by the off-reservation violations by its police officers of the “place of religious worship” provisions of the Freedom of Access To Clinic Entrances Act of 1994, 18 U.S.C. § 248(a)(2) (“the Access Act”)?
(2) Are the “place of religious worship” and civil remedies provisions of the Access Act, as applied to a congregational leadership dispute, unenforceable because those provisions violate the Establishment of Religion and Free Exercise of Religion Clauses of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution?
Lower court materials here.
Here is the petition in Confederated Tribes and Bands of the Yakama Nation v. Yakima County:
The United States reassumed Pub. L. 83-280 criminal jurisdiction over crimes involving Indians within the Yakama Reservation from the State of Washington pursuant to 25 U.S.C. § 1323, on April 19, 2016. Years later, federal officials re-interpreted the scope of that federal reassumption to allow the State of Washington to once again exercise criminal jurisdiction over Indians within the Yakama Reservation any time a non-Indian is involved in the crime.The question presented is:
Can the United States change the scope of its reassumption of Pub. L. 83-280 jurisdiction in Indian Country years after the reassumption became effective under 25 U.S.C. § 1323 without the Yakama Nation’s prior consent required by 25 U.S.C. § 1326?
Lower court materials here.