Court to rehear law on adoptions of Native American children

NEW ORLEANS, La. (AP) – A federal appeals court says it will take a second look at an emotionally fraught lawsuit governing the adoption of Native American children.

In August, a three-judge panel of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the Indian Child Welfare Act of 1978. The law gives preference to Native American families in foster care and adoption proceedings involving American Indian children. It was a defeat for non-Indian adoptive families in multiple states.

On Thursday, the New Orleans-based court said a majority of its active judges have voted to re-hear the case. It means Native American tribes and the federal government will again have to defend the law, which they say is critical to protect and preserve Native American culture and families.

A hearing date has not been set.

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