George Mason University Antonin Scalia Law School

WEBINAR: Is the Indian Child Welfare Act Constitutional? A Discussion of Brackeen v. Haaland


Event Details

  • Date:
  • Division: Tribal Law & Economics Program

On November 9, 2022 the Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in Brackeen v. Haaland, a case questioning the constitutionality of the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA). ICWA was enacted in 1978 because Congress found “an alarmingly high percentage of Indian families are broken up by the removal, often unwarranted, of their children from them by nontribal public and private agencies and that an alarmingly high percentage of such children are placed in non-Indian foster and adoptive homes and institutions.” 25 U.S.C. 1901(4).

Proponents of ICWA claim the law is a valid exercise of Congress’s authority over Indian affairs and necessary to preserve tribal cultures. Opponents of ICWA assert the law is unconstitutional because it singles out Indian children based upon their race rather than their tribal citizenship. ICWA opponents further contend the law unconstitutionally commandeers state agencies and courts. To discuss the issues in Brackeen v. Haaland, the Law & Economics Center’s Tribal Law & Economics Program is hosting a webinar with a panel of tribal law experts.

Bethany Berger, Wallace Stevens Professor of Law, University of Connecticut School of Law

David E. Bernstein, University Professor of Law; Executive Director, Liberty & Law Center, George Mason University Antonin Scalia Law School

Thomas F. Gede, Of Counsel, Morgan, Lewis and Bockius LLP

Chrissi Ross Nimmo, Deputy Attorney General, Office of the Cherokee Nation Attorney General

Moderator: Adam Crepelle, Assistant Professor of Law; Director, LEC Tribal Law & Economics Program, George Mason University Antonin Scalia Law School