A federal law that gives tribes a voice in custody proceedings involving Native American children has been a “bright light” to many tribal communities, McGuireWoods’ Mike Andrews told news station KFOR in Oklahoma City as the U.S. Supreme Court considers arguments over whether the law should be struck down.
On Nov. 9, 2022, the Supreme Court heard arguments in several cases challenging the constitutionality of the Indian Child Welfare Act. Andrews, a McGuireWoods partner and a senior vice president with McGuireWoods Consulting, told KFOR in a Nov. 9 story that the ICWA has helped prioritize protections for Native American children who are put up for adoption. Prior to the ICWA’s passage, such children typically wound up removed from their communities and culture.
“Congress acted as a preventative measure and said, ‘No, the Native communities are better served to take care of Native kids,’ ” Andrews said. “It’s working and it’s been a bright light to many communities to develop and enhance their tribal community. If the law is struck down, then you’re going to see a little bit more divisiveness for these children and it’ll be up to the state, perhaps, to determine what will be the best interest for the child.”
Andrews leads McGuireWoods Consulting’s policy work on matters impacting Native American tribes. He is former chief counsel to the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs and has over 20 years of experience in federal Indian law.