Great Falls Tribune: Case challenging legality of Indian Child Welfare Act reheard by federal court of appeals

A lawsuit described by Native American tribal leaders as an “unwarranted attack” on the constitutionality of the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) underwent a rehearing Wednesday before a federal court of appeals in New Orleans.

In a rehearing of Brackeen v. Bernhardt, parties reiterated their positions before the entire judicial panel of the U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals.

The case challenges the constitutionality of ICWA, which establishes federal standards for the placement of Indigenous children in foster or adoptive homes.

The parties, including representatives from four Native American tribes and the Department of the Interior on the defense side, now await a ruling following the rehearing at an undetermined date. The plaintiffs, Chad and Jennifer Brackeen, brought the suit along with attorneys general from three states. 

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