Murkowski Lauds SCOTUS Decision Upholding The Indian Child Welfare Act

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Vice Chairman of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs (SCIA), issued a statement following the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to uphold the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA).

“In a victory for Native people, the Supreme Court has fully upheld the constitutionality of the Indian Child Welfare Act.  I applaud the decision and am proud to have co-led the Congressional amicus brief to the Court.  I also want to thank those who tirelessly fought to defend this important child welfare policy,” said Senator Murkowski.

Congress enacted ICWA in 1978 to protect the best interests of Indian children and promote the stability and security of Indian families and Tribes. ICWA sets standards and requirements to prevent the unwarranted removal of Indian children from their families and Tribal communities in child welfare and adoption proceedings.

In 2019, over 70 members of Congress, including Senator Murkowski, filed a bipartisan, bicameral brief supporting ICWA in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. But in an April 2021 decision, the Fifth Circuit upheld certain sections of ICWA and flagged constitutional concerns about others, prompting appeals on both sides. In August 2022, Murkowski led with 86 members of Congress in again filing a bipartisan, bicameral amicus brief defending the constitutionality of ICWA before the Court. The U.S. Supreme Court granted petitions to review the Fifth Circuit’s decision from the U.S. Department of Justice, intervening Tribes, Texas, and individual plaintiffs inHaaland v. Brackeen and heard the case on November 9, 2022.