Please join Laura Waterman Wittstock as she talks with attorneys Larry Leventhal and Bert Hirsch on the recent Indian Child Welfare Act Supreme Court Decision of June 25, 2013, which said in part that (ICWA) "does not bar a non-Indian family like Adoptive Couple from adopting an Indian child when no other eligible candidates have sought to adopt the child. We accordingly reverse the South Carolina Supreme Court’s judgment and remand for further proceedings."
In her dissent, Justice Sotomayor wrote: "But the majority gives with one hand and takes away with the other. Having assumed a uniform federal definition of 'parent' that confers certain procedural rights, the majority then illogically concludes that ICWA’s substantive protections are available only to a subset of “parent[s]”: those who have previously had physical or state-recognized legal custody of his or her child. The statute does not support this departure."
Two distinguished experts in the history, field work, and use of ICWA will comment on the Supreme Court decision and ICWA in general.
Larry Leventhal has represented Tribes in Minnesota, Wisconsin, North Dakota, South Dakota, Michigan, Oklahoma and other states in issues ranging from tribal government operations, gaming, business development, environmental issues, and litigation. He currently serves as legal counsel to several American Indian Tribes.
Attorney Bert Hirsch is a lawyer who has practiced federal Indian law for more than 40 years, played a role in drafting and securing enactment of the ICWA and in its ongoing implementation since enactment in 1978.