19 June 2023
Last week the Supreme Court ruled 7-2 in favor of upholding the 1978 Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA), which concedes jurisdiction over Indian children in custody, foster care, and adoption to local tribal governments and requires that judges give preference to Indian families when placing Indian children. The purpose of the law is to prevent Indian children from becoming alienated from their extended family and tribe. The law had been challenged by three couples from non-Indian racial backgrounds as well as the state of Texas.
Representatives for the Indian tribes countered that the law is necessary to help ensure their future as tribes. Their arguments were supported by Justice Neil Gorsuch, who rightly noted that
[t]he dissolution of the Indian family has had devastating effects on children and parents alike. It has also presented an existential threat to the continued vitality of the tribes.
This ruling by the United States Supreme Court which entails that race and ethnicity should be taken into account when children are adopted or placed under foster care, is one the Pactum Institute wholeheartedly supports. We can only hope that in future, the just principles upheld in this decision will be consistently applied to all peoples or ethnicities in America, since everybody deserves to be treated equally before the law.