Supreme Rules on Cherokee Adoption

The Supreme Court didn’t just rule on the Voting Rights Act on Tuesday. In another landmark ruling, the Supreme Court declared that a young girl adopted by white parents did not have to be returned to her biological father simply because he is an American Indian. The girl had been adopted by Matt and Melanie Capobianco, but a family court had ordered they return her to her biological father, Dusten Brown, who is Cherokee. Brown had argued he should have custody according to the Indian Child Welfare Act of 1978, which was written to prevent many Native American families from being split up. He took custody of the girl in 2011, when she was 2 years old. The Supreme Court did not give custody back to the Capobiancos, but rather threw out the court decision awarding Brown custody. The case was chronicled in a memorable episode of the podcast Radiolab, which is worth a listen now if you haven’t heard.