Indian Legal Clinic students draft amicus brief

A group of Indian Legal Clinic students recently drafted an amicus brief that was filed by the National Native American Bar Association in the pending U.S. Supreme Court case, Adoptive Couple v. Baby Girl.

Third-year students Stephanie Whisnant, Stephanie Skogan, Fernando Anzaldua, Michael Mainwold, Kristin McPhie, Miguel Zarate and Lily Yan and second-year student Brittany Burback helped draft the brief under the supervision of Professors Robert Clinton and Patty Ferguson-Bohnee.

The brief was written to define the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) as a minimum protection afforded to Indian tribes against unnecessary and detrimental state interference through family law proceedings.

The act requires state courts to recognize a tribe’s independent sovereign interest to intervene in custody proceedings involving its children, separate and apart from a parent’s interest, according to the brief.