Justice Scalia Calls Indian Adoption Case his Toughest Decision

December 25, 2012

Justice Antonin Scalia told Charlie Rose in a TV interview that an Indian adoption case in 1989 has been the most challenging decision he has made in his more than two decades serving on the Supreme Court, The New York TImes reported.

“It was pretty early on in my time on this court,” he said. “We had a case in which a very wealthy rancher and his wife had adopted a child of a young man and woman on an Indian reservation who had had the child out of wedlock. And they gave the child to the rancher to raise.”

The case actually involved 3-year-old twins, and the adoptive father had passed away by the time the case was decided.

“I found that very hard. But that’s what the law said, without a doubt,” Justice Scalia said, refering to the Indian Child Welfare Act of 1978. The federal act protects American Indian children from being separated from their family, tribe and culture. It was passed to prevent the outrageously high, widespread removal of Indian children from their homes.

Now the Supreme Court may be faced with a similar decision. At a private Supreme Court conference next week, the justices will consider whether to hear the Baby Veronica case.

On July 26, 2012, the South Carolina Supreme Court ruled Baby Veronica, a 2-year-old Cherokee adopted by non-Native parents in 2009, will remain with her biological father, Dusten Brown, a member of the Cherokee Nation, in Oklahoma. The adoptive parents Matt and Melanie Capobianco from South Carolina have since appealed for a rehearing, which was denied by the South Carolina Supreme Court on August 23. Now the federal Supreme Court will decide whether to hear their case.




Submitted by monkette on

I am watching. I am an enrolled member of the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe. The state of California has stolen my children and given them to a non citizen of the US. My children are the fifth generation to be displaced by the government and 5th great grandchildren to
Chief Flatmouth, one of the busts you walk by on the third floor hallway Senate wing.

I really hope you don't make us any more unhappy than we already are.

Submitted by Anonymous on

Fifty three years ago, I was removed from my mother and abandoned by my father and was adopted by a wonderful non native man and a native woman who should never have been given children by the court. My blood quantum was cut in half because of the adoption, and was the prey of my adopted maternal uncle and a long family friend until I was 12. After raised in the Western world, I came back to my family and my culture to find myself standing in between two worlds and my children right next to me. The white world looks at me with curiosity ( and that is not always bad ) and the ravaged native world, with guarded awareness ( and that is not always bad, either ) but the fact is I was born a Native but my birth certificate is a lie and so are my Children's and my Grand-children. All Natives know how important their blood lines are but neither Native or Western society understand my plight. Only the sands of time will echo my screams and taste the tears of my descendants.

Add new comment

Headline News
Health & Wellness

Around The Web

Huge storm system blamed for 3 deaths, moves east
Children, many ill, would be victims of Russia ban on U.S. adoption
Jessica Simpson's Christmas gift: She's pregnant
Study Finds Modest Declines in Obesity Rates Among Young Children From Poor Families