The U.S. Supreme Court delivered what some are calling a “landmark” decision on Thursday that left intact a decades-old law that prioritizes the placement of Native American children with Native families or tribes in child custody proceedings.
“The law was passed in 1978 to protect tribal sovereignty after Congress documented the alarmingly high number of children with Native American ancestry being placed with non-Native families or institutions in state child welfare and private adoption proceedings. The 7-2 decision backs the law passed in the wake of decades of hostility on the part of the federal government when it comes to child custody issues and the traditional values of Indian tribes,” CNN reported.
Justice Amy Coney Barrett, writing for the majority, argued that Congress did not exceed its authority when it passed the law.
“In a long line of cases we have characterized Congress’ power to legislate with respect to the Indian tribes as plenary and exclusive. Congress’s power to legislate with respect to Indians is well-established and broad,” Barrett wrote.
“The case pitted the interest of Native American tribes, who said their existence as sovereign nations was on the line, against non-Native couples seeking to foster or adopt children with Native ancestry. The opinion, which is a defeat for the couples who challenged the law, upheld a lower court’s ruling that the law is consistent with Congress’ authority. The Indian Child Welfare Act was enacted as a response to serious harms caused by widespread child welfare practices that resulted in the separation of Indian families, and adoption or foster placement in non-Indian homes,” CNN reported.
The Supreme Court made headlines in another case recently.
House Democrats are in a much better position to either trim their already slim minority next year or retake control of the chamber during the 2024 elections following a huge Supreme Court ruling regarding congressional district maps on Thursday.
In a 5-4 ruling in Allen v. Milligan, the high court ordered Alabama to redraw its congressional map after ruling that the initial one following the 2020 Census violated the Voting Rights Act. The court ordered the map to include “an additional black majority district to account for the fact that the state is 27% black,” CNN reported.
As such, the Cook Political Report updated five House seat races per the Daily Caller
The new rating shifts Alabama’s 1st and 2nd Congressional Districts, which cover the cities of Mobile and parts of Montgomery, the state capital, from a rating of “Solid R” to “Toss Up.” The new ratings are significant swings from the seats’ previously strong Republican ratings and suggest that Democrats may pick up seats in the newly-drawn districts, whose boundaries are yet to be finalized per the ruling.
Of the 435 voting seats in the House, 222 are held by Republicans and Democrats hold 212 seats.
Republicans only have a 4-seat majority, which means if Democrats were to win all 5 of those races that just shifted in their favor, they would win back control of the House in 2024.
There’s still a long way to go before the election next year, but the news is unsettling for Republicans.
“For now, we are making five House race rating changes,” the Cook Political Report noted on Twitter.
“The landmark decision in Allen v. Milligan could reverberate across the Deep South, leading to the creation of new black-majority, strongly Democratic seats in multiple states,” David Wasserman for the Cook Political Report wrote.
In an additional update, the Cook Political Report changed the rating of three more seats in various states to “Toss Up” status.
Among these seats are Louisiana’s 5th District, currently held by Republican Rep. Julia Letlow, and the 6th District, represented by Republican Rep. Garret Graves. Notably, Graves recently played a significant role as one of House Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s key negotiators on the Fiscal Responsibility Act aimed at addressing the issue of raising the debt ceiling.
“Louisiana’s congressional map has not been overturned by any court, and the 5th and 6th Districts had Cook Partisan Voting Index (PVI) scores of R+17 and R+19, respectively, during the 2022 midterm elections,” the Caller noted.