Filed amicus brief in the U.S. Supreme Court supporting the de facto parents' petition for certiorari.
Court denied petition, case closed.
This California case—which has become notorious as the “Lexi” case—involves the Indian Child Welfare Act, a federal law that dictates how courts decide foster care, adoption, and custody proceedings that involve children of American Indian ancestry. (The Goldwater Institute is challenging the constitutionality of the Act in a federal civil rights lawsuit, A.D. v. Washburn, also known as Carter v. Washburn, on behalf of children in Arizona who are subject to the Act.) The Lexi case involves a 6-year old girl who is 1/64th Choctaw by blood, and who has been taken from the California foster family with whom she has lived for four years, and placed with another family in Utah, thanks to the intervention of the Oklahoma-based Choctaw tribe.
The case highlights some of the Indian Child Welfare Act’s worst aspects—particularly the way the Act overrules the “best interests of the child” standard that applies in adoption proceedings involving children of all other races, and imposes a separate, substandard set of rules for cases that involve children of Indian heritage. The Act also allows tribes to intervene in lawsuits involving Indian children anywhere in the United States, and order them placed with people the tribe chooses. As a result, a child in California can be sent to Utah by a tribe headquartered in Oklahoma—and all based on a child’s racial ancestry. We are appearing as friends of the court to argue that the Act is unconstitutional.
Timothy Sandefur is Vice President for Litigation. Before joining Goldwater, he served 15 years as a litigator at the Pacific Legal Foundation, where he won important victories for economic liberty in several states. He is the author of four books, Cornerstone of Liberty: Property Rights in 21st Century America (coauthored with Christina Sandefur, 2016), The Right to Earn A Living (2010), The Conscience of The Constitution (2014), and The Permission Society (forthcoming, 2016), as well as some 45 scholarly articles on subjects ranging from eminent domain and economic liberty to antitrust, copyright, slavery and the Civil War, and political issues in Shakespeare, ancient Greek drama, and Star Trek. He is an Adjunct Scholar with the Cato Institute, a graduate of Hillsdale College and Chapman University School of Law.
Adi Dynar is a staff attorney at the Goldwater Institute’s Scharf-Norton Center for Constitutional Litigation. Adi graduated from the University of Toledo College of Law where he had highest ranking in constitutional law and was an Articles Editor for the University of Toledo Law Review. During the law school summers he clerked on the California Court of Appeal and the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Central District of California. Adi was a Ronald Reagan Fellow at the Goldwater Institute for over two years and worked as a part-time law clerk at a law firm in Mesa. Adi earned bachelors and masters degrees in Accounting, Finance, and Economics from Sydenham College, University of Mumbai. He was an accounting and auditing officer at Citigroup Global Services Ltd. in India for over a year before pursuing his legal education in the United States.