Supreme Court Hears Arguments In Oklahoma Adoption Case

Tuesday, April 16th 2013, 4:36 pm

By: News On 6

Native Americans from tribes across the country prayed and pounded drums in front of the Supreme Court, as attorneys argued the fate of a Green Country girl Tuesday.

Little Veronica recently seemed happy back in Oklahoma, playing with bubbles with her father, Dusten Brown. Brown has custody of his daughter only because of the Indian Child Welfare Act.

Veronica's mother put the girl up for adoption when she was a baby. She was placed with a family in South Carolina, Matt and Melanie Capobianco.

Attorneys argued Brown never supported Veronica's mother during her pregnancy and shouldn't be able to swoop in and take her away from a loving family.

The father's attorneys say he never abandoned his daughter, he was serving in the Army.

"Mr. Brown found out about the attempt to adopt and immediately sprung into action. This case is, at bottom, about a father, a loving father, who wants the opportunity to raise his child," said Brown's attorney, John Nichols.

Courts sided with the father, citing the federal law that says Native American children should be raised in homes that share their heritage. Brown is Cherokee.

Other attorneys ague Veronica's mother's heritage is being ignored.

"The child was more Hispanic than Native American," said the attorney for the adoptive couple, Lisa Black. "It affects more than just this couple, but the rights of all birth mothers and adoptive couples and children."

The Supreme Court was packed through hours of testimony, with adoption attorneys interested in the shockwaves this case could cause.

"We really think there'll be some clarity that comes out of this decision, about how adoptions are handled in this country, when the child has some prospective Native American heritage," said adoption attorney Mark Demaray.

Justice Anthony Kennedy compared the battle over baby Veronica to a King Solomon case, with two families fighting over the same little girl and no way to cut the baby in two.

The court expects to issue a decision in June.

4/15/2013 Related Story: Oklahoma Adoption Case Before Supreme Court Has National Implications


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