Emotions run high at the U.S. Supreme Court - WCBD-TV: News, Weather, and Sports for Charleston, SC

Emotions run high at the U.S. Supreme Court in the Fight for Baby Veronica

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Day two at SCOTUS to hear the case for baby Veronica. Day two at SCOTUS to hear the case for baby Veronica.
Dusten Brown, Veronica's biological father, and his wife walk in SCOTUS. Dusten Brown, Veronica's biological father, and his wife walk in SCOTUS.
Washington, D.C. -

The Indian Child Welfare Act was written to keep the American government from removing Native American children from a tribe and placing them in foster homes.  The idea is that it helps to preserve a struggling culture.

Emotions ran high at the United States Supreme Court Tuesday where a local family fought for custody of their adopted daughter.

It's the story News 2 has been following since New Year's Eve 2011 when the biological father left Charleston with the little girl we call baby Veronica.  News 2's Haley Hernandez is on Capitol Hill covering the story.

It's a fact that if it wasn't for ICWA Dusten Brown would not have had the legal rights to take his biological daughter Veronica back to Oklahoma to live with him.  Tuesday justices challenged both sides on whether he used the law correctly when he used it to "preserve" a Native American family where one did not previously exist.

Inside of the Supreme Court justices challenged the use of the law.  One point the justices said was deeply disturbing was that by the argument in this case, the ICWA could apply to cases where the mother didn't know the father which would happen in an instance with a sperm donor or rape.

Attorney Lisa Blatt agreed the risk is that a tribe can have ICWA on their side even if Native American parents withdraw membership or are unknown. But Terry Cross of the National Indian Child Welfare Association defends the act by saying they have never been against adoptions.

U.S. Supreme Court to hear Veronica case in less than 24 hours

Cherokee Nation release new pictures of "Baby Veronica"

Attorney: South Carolina judiciary "confused" with Baby Veronica case

We are told this law is the center of thousands of custody battles every year and that's why attorneys say the Supreme Court needs to clarify or rewrite the ICWA.  The way it legally defines a parent conflicts with how state laws say a father is either a parent through marriage or present during pregnancy. In Veronica's case Brown did not so that and that's why the American Academy of Adoption Attorneys say South Carolina was wrong to allow him to take Veronica after she was born and raised into the Charleston home.

The Cherokee nation claims this is modern discrimination against the tribe. Tuesday morning at 8 a.m. they held a prayers service at the Supreme Court.

The Attorney General of Cherokee nation says the Indian country has seen many defeats on these steps but also many victories but prays for "victory" of baby Veronica.

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