The Law of American Indians Posts

Texas Judge Rules Indian Child Welfare Act as Unconstitutional

The Indian Child Welfare Act was dealt a substantial blow on Friday, when a U.S. Federal Judge in the Northern District of Texas ruled the landmark legislation unconstitutional. According to the law, when a Native child is up for adoption, family members, other tribal members, and then other Native homes are to be prioritized for placement. Ample research shows that all children, Native and non-Native alike, have better outcomes when they are raised with family, extended family or in their community over state child welfare systems and foster homes. National child advocacy organizations have praised the act as a gold standard for child welfare. The act is often referred to by its acronym, ICWA.

American Indian Law and Policy: 10 Things You Need to Know

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All three branches of the federal government had a busy spring. The U.S. Supreme Court just completed its 2017 term in June with a full-strength bench after spending much of the previous term with only eight justices after the death of Justice Antonin Scalia in February 2016. The vacancy during the 2016 term was prolonged when the Senate refused to consider President Obama’s nominee to replace Justice Scalia before the 2016 elections.

Predicting Supreme Court Behavior in Indian Law Cases

Since 1959 the Supreme Court has heard an average of 2.6 Indian law cases each term out of a recent average of approximately 80 cases. This paper attempts to identify which factors may be influencing the outcome of Indian law opinions by creating a new dataset of 156 Indian law cases and testing twelve potentially explanatory variables using logistic regression analysis.