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June 17, 2023

Speaking of the SCOTUS, it’s releasing some long-awaited major decisions this month. Friday morning, the Court issued a 7-2 ruling upholding Congress’ authority under the Indian Child Welfare Act to give preference to Native American couples in the adoptions of Native American children.

The plaintiffs were a White Texas evangelical couple who wanted to adopt a Native American boy and argued that it was unconstitutional racial discrimination to give preference to Native American parents. The tribes opposed the adoption while the child's mother, father and grandmother supported it. The couple also tried to adopt a Native American girl who has lived with them for five years and is part of their family, but the tribe again objected. The states of Texas, Louisiana and Indiana sided with the couple.

Justice Amy Coney Barrett wrote that “Congress's power to legislate with respect to Indians is well established and broad" and supersedes "both tribal and state authority" in this case. However, Justice Kavanaugh said the racial discrimination issue wasn’t settled by this case and was a serious question that should be revisited in a future case.

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