Previous coverage and case documents here.
After the California Court of Appeals upheld Alexandria’s placement with her family in Utah, the foster parents appealed to the California Supreme Court. The California Supreme Court decided against review. Though there is no written opinion from that decision, the foster parents can petition the Supreme Court for cert at this point.
The questions presented are:
(1) Whether ICWA applies where the child has not been removed from an Indian family or community.
(2) Whether ICWA’s adoptive placement preferences, 25 U.S.C. § 1915(a), require removal from a foster placement made under 1915(b), for the purpose of triggering the Adoptive placement preferences contained in 1915(a).
(3) Whether the state courts erred in holding that “good cause” to depart from ICWA’s placement preferences must be proved by “clear and convincing evidence”–contrary to the text and structure of the statute and the decision of at least one other state court of last resort–or otherwise erred in their interpretation of “good cause.”
The likelihood of the Court granting this petition is relatively slim. However, the attorney representing the foster parents is the same attorney who represented the birth mother in Adoptive Couple v. Baby Girl. Indian Country should expect no less of an onslaught of media from this case than what happened in that one. The foster parents in this case have used the exact same media strategy. This article in the October ABA Journal Magazine leaves no doubt. None of this should be a surprise to those following the cases filed in the past year, but Indian Country is going to have to find the support for the type of media strategy Choctaw Nation will need to counter the attacks that will come.
There is an alternative summary of the facts that is rooted in the lower court decisions (and reflects the reality that all of the parties except this couple agreed that this little girl’s current placement with her relatives is in her best interests) here.