Part I of this article will provide an overview of the legal doctrines implicated in Adoptive Couple v. Baby Girl. First, Part I will discuss both Indian Child Welfare Act’s text and purpose and scholarly attention given to the law. Second, Part I will examine the law of putative fathers insofar as relevant to understanding ICWA’s application in Adoptive Couple. Part II provides insight into the Court’s equal protection jurisprudence with a particular emphasis on considerations of race in adoption and laws implicating Indian tribes. This Part introduces the limited scholarly treatment afforded to the equal protection issues implicated by ICWA and builds on the existing work that recognizes the inherently racial nature of any tribal classification. Part III tells the intriguing story of Adoptive Couple by providing a factual overview of the case, presenting the procedural history of the dispute, and summarizing the parties’ arguments before the Supreme Court. Lastly, Part IV analyzes the Court’s decision in Adoptive Couple. Incorporating the themes developed throughout this Article, Part IV critically examines the Court’s failure to resolve the putative father and equal protection issues raised in Adoptive Couple. Part IV suggests how the Court should have resolved Adoptive Couple in a constitutionally and doctrinally satisfying way while identifying some of the perils and repercussions of the Court’s judicial minimalism. This Part also includes a brief epilogue that provides an update to the status of Baby Girl’s adoption.
Recommended CitationChristopher Deluzio, Tribes and Race: The Court’s Missed Opportunity in Adoptive Couple v. Baby Girl, 34 Pace L. Rev. 509 (2014)
Available at: https://digitalcommons.pace.edu/plr/vol34/iss2/1