The U.S. Supreme Court will review a ruling that sent a South Carolina couple's adopted Native American daughter back to her biological father in Oklahoma.
The high court on Friday agreed to hear an appeal by Matt and Melanie Capobianco, who live on James Island just outside Charleston. The adoption of their 3-year-old daughter, Veronica, was overturned by the South Carolina state Supreme Court, who said the girl must go back to Oklahoma to be with her biological father, a member of the Cherokee tribe.
The state court said the federal Indian Child Welfare Act gave custodial preference to the girl's father.
That 1978 act gives the child's tribe and family the right to have a say in decisions affecting the child.
"We are surprised that the United States Supreme Court has chosen to hear this case. The South Carolina Supreme Court completely addressed all aspects of the Indian Child Welfare Act, and we believe their decision was correct," said Cherokee Nation Attorney General Todd Hembree. "This is a matter that is of utmost importance to all of Indian Country. Our children are our future, and the Cherokee Nation stands ready to defend the rights of Native American children to be raised in Native American homes."
The case will be heard later this year.
Matt and Melanie Capobianco statement:
"We are so incredibly grateful to the Justices for agreeing to hear our case. It has been an extremely difficult year but we now have a renewed sense of faith in our legal system. We remain hopeful that our daughter will finally be able to come home and to be surrounded by all that love her."
"There is no way we could have gotten this far without the support from our family, friends and our supporters. We are beyond grateful and appreciate the continued prayers."