After waiting over a year, the U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals, issued an opinion in Brackeen v. Haaland upholding Congress’ authority to enact the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA). ANJC and our partners are currently reviewing the complicated 325-page decision, but an initial review indicates that the decision should have no impact on the ICWA’s application in Alaska.
ANJC is committed to representing Alaska Tribes and advocating for them under ICWA. This decision has no precedential effect outside of the Northern District of Texas. As the judges stated in the decision: “This case will not have binding effect in a single adoption. That’s right, whether our court upholds the law in its entirety or says that the whole thing exceeds congressional power, no state family court is required to follow what we say.”
However, it is important to be alert for wrongful or misguided attempts to use the Brackeen decision in Alaska ICWA cases. Please let ANJC know if you hear of any such attempts. firstname.lastname@example.org