Idaho Attorney General Lawrence Wasden supports the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) by filing an amicus brief after meeting with tribal legal counsel from Idaho tribes. On Thursday, January 10, 2018, at the Idaho Statehouse, legal counsel for the Shoshone-Bannock Tribes (Brandelle Whitworth), Coeur d’Alene Tribe (Eric VanOrden), Nez Perce Tribe (Darren Williams), and Kootenai Tribe of Idaho (William Barquin) met with Idaho Attorney General Lawrence Wasden and his senior staff to discuss the ICWA and the Brackeen v. Zinke case.
After the meeting and upon the request of his own staff, Mr. Wasden joined with the Attorneys General of Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Montana, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, Utah, Virginia, Washington and Wisconsin in the bi-partisan group of states filing an amicus brief in defense of the ICWA.
Just last month, the Fort Hall Business Council authorized the Shoshone-Bannock Tribes to join the tribal amicus brief in Brackeen. More than 280 Indian tribes and 50 tribal organizations, including the Association on American Indian Affairs, the National Congress of American Indians, and the National Indian Child Welfare have joined the tribal amicus brief.
The Brackeen case involves a challenge by individual plaintiffs and the states of Texas, Louisiana, and Indiana to the constitutionality of the ICWA and its regulations. In October 2018, a judge in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas ruled that much of the ICWA and its regulations were unconstitutional. The case is currently on appeal to in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.
A press release by California Attorney General Xavier Becerra and a copy of the states’ amicus brief may be found here.