Fletcher and Singel on Lawyering and the Indian Child Welfare Act
Matthew L.M. Fletcher
Fletcher and Singel’s paper, “Lawyering the Indian Child Welfare Act,” has been published in the Michigan Law Review. We’re honored to be part of a symposium on civil rights lawyering!
This Article describes how the statutory structure of child welfare laws enables lawyers and courts to exploit deep-seated stereotypes about American Indian people rooted in systemic racism to undermine the enforcement of the rights of Indian families and tribes. Even when Indian custodians and tribes are able to protect their rights in court, their adversaries use those same advantages on appeal to attack the constitutional validity of the law. The primary goal of this Article is to help expose those structural issues and the ethically troublesome practices of adoption attorneys as the most important Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) case in history, Brackeen v. Haaland, reaches the Supreme Court.
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