Law | National

California court won't upset placement of Choctaw Nation child






After losing in the court system, a non-Indian couple and their attorney have waged a public relations campaign against the Indian Child Welfare Act. Photo by Keely Brazil / Twitter

The California Supreme Court on Wednesday refused to intervene in an Indian Child Welfare Act that has drawn nationwide attention.

The lower courts already confirmed that the law applies to a Choctaw Nation girl. But a non-Indian couple -- aided by Lori Alvino McGill, an attorney who has repeatedly challenged ICWA -- tried to prevent her from being placed with relatives in Utah.

The girl will stay in Utah -- where she will grow up with her two biological sisters -- now that California's highest court refused to disturb the arrangement. But McGill told the Associated Press that she will take the case to the U.S. Supreme Court if necessary.

McGill previously represented the National Council for Adoption and Building Arizona Families in a lawsuit that challenged the constitutionality of ICWA. The case was dismissed in December.

McGill also represented the non-Indian biological mother in Adoptive Couple v. Baby Girl, a high-profile ICWA case that went to the U.S. Supreme Court. The justices, while they ruled against the biological Indian father, they did not question the constitutionality of ICWA.

Get the Story:
California high court won’t intervene in Choctaw girl’s move (AP 3/30)
California Supreme Court Denies Appeal in Lexi Case (Indian Country Today 3/30)
State Supreme Court Won’t Reconsider ‘Lexi’ Decision (SCVNews.com 3/30)

California Court of Appeal Decision:
In re Alexandria P., a Person Coming Under the Juvenile Court Law (August 15, 2014)

Related Stories:
Conservative website urges readers to contact Choctaw Nation (3/24)
Anti-Indian Child Welfare Act lawyer pursues appeal in California (3/23)
Anti-Indian Child Welfare Act attorney takes on another dispute (3/22)
Bureau of Indian Affairs in final push as Obama era nears its end (03/01)
Updates from National Congress of American Indians winter session in D.C. (02/23)
Bill John Baker: The Indian Child Welfare Act remains under attack (01/06)
Kevin Washburn announces departure from Bureau of Indian Affairs post (12/10)
Tom Cole and Betty McCollum: Doing what's best for Indian children (12/01)
Groups challenging Indian Child Welfare Act lose round in court (10/22)
Timothy Davis: Indian Child Welfare Act protects sovereignty (09/14)
Byron Dorgan: Indian parents put first priority on their children (09/07)
Opinion: Indian Child Welfare Act doesn't help Indian children (09/03)
Lakota Country Times: Indian Child Welfare Act is under attack (08/20)
Monique Vondall-Rieke: Conservative group's faulty ICWA report (07/13)
Conservative group disputes legality of Indian Child Welfare Act (07/08)
Lorie Graham and Kathryn Fort: The truth about Indian children (06/25)
Elizabeth Morris: More funding won't stop Indian child abuse (06/22)
New case challenges Minnesota Indian Family Preservation Act (06/09)
Opinion: BIA politicizes placement of Indian children in new rule (06/01)
John Guenther: Indian Child Welfare Act remains under attack (05/29)
Lawsuit challenges constitutionality of Indian Child Welfare Act (05/27)