Alaska presses Supreme Court in tribal adoption case
The state of Alaska is asking the U.S. Supreme Court to review a tribal adoption case but some lawmakers are questioning the move.

The state lost the case in four different courts before five different judges. But Attorney General Dan Sullivan said the state needs to determine whether its court system or the tribal court system has precedence in Indian Child Welfare Act cases.

State lawmakers, however, said the state should concede. They said Sullivan's fight could undermine the tribal-state relationship.

"The facts in Kaltag are this," said Sen. Bill Wielechowski (D), The Anchorage Daily News reported. "You had a Mom who was convicted of murder and was a drinker. You had a Dad who wanted nothing to do with the child. You had the Kaltag tribe that took custody of the child, adopted her to residents who lived in Huslia. All participants consented to the tribal court doing this, all were Native, no one raised any concerns about the due process provided by the tribal court. The child is 10 years old, happy and healthy with the family, and the state comes in and wants to stop this."

The case is Hogan v. Kaltag Tribal Council.

Get the Story:
Rights of tribal courts debated at hearing (The Juneau Empire 3/11)
Attorney general criticized over Native adoption case (The Anchorage Daily News 3/11)

9th Circuit Decision:
Kaltag Tribal Council v. Jackson (August 28, 2009)

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