On April 16th, the US Supreme court will hear arguments in the case Adoptive Couple v. Baby Girl. This case involves an Indian child whose attempted adoption by a non-Indian couple in South Carolina violated the provisions of the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA). Because of this violation, the family court ordered her return to her biological father. The case has received extensive media attention and has resulted in the vilification of ICWA. Nevertheless, the Court’s decision to hear the case was surprising. The issues in the case are straightforward and the lower courts’ decisions were clearly correct. Consequently, the Supreme Court’s interest likely indicates that this case will be used to address broader issues than those delineated in the questions presented. This essay explores the legal issues raised by the Baby Girl case and examine the ways in which the Court is likely to use this decision to redefine current understanding of ICWA and maybe all of Indian law.
Marcia A. Yablon-Zug, Adoptive Couple v. Baby Girl: Two-and-a-Half Ways to Destroy Indian Law, 111 Mich. L. Rev. First Impressions 46 (2013).