Baby Veronica and the law in question - WCBD-TV: News, Weather, and Sports for Charleston, SC

Baby Veronica and the law in question

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Now that the Supreme Court of the United States has ruled on a controversial custody battle, Adoptive Couple V. Baby Girl, two key elements of the case are still unclear: what happens to baby Veronica and the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA)?

SCOTUS's opinion is that the South Carolina Supreme Court ruling should be reveresed. That sends many difficult questions back to South Carolina in regards to where Veronica goes now. SCOTUS acknowledges a second transition could be equally difficult for a child with better cognitive memory.

Attorneys close to the case tell News 2, the adoptive couple would have to finalize their adoption before anything can proceed. Once the adoption is final it would be up to South Carolina to determine another transfer.

As for ICWA, the court upholds some of the main arguments, such as whether or not an un-wed biological father constitutes as a "parent." In this case, Dusten Brown is a parent. However, the law also states he would need to prove "continued custody" in order to claim ICWA to block an adoption. In the case involving Brown, SCOTUS said he never had custody of the Indian child. Therefore, ICWA doesn't apply to this case.

ICWA is a law that comes up in thousands of adoption cases every year nationwide, according to the American Academy of Adoption Attorneys (AAAA).

After the SCOTUS ruling they said, "Adoption professionals across the country have wrestled for years over the question of whether ICWA applies to voluntary adoption proceedings where the unwed father is Indian and the mother is not. The Court's decision today clears up much of that confusion."

"One of the most difficult issues before the Court was to determine whether and under what circumstances the rights given to Indian tribes under ICWA may supersede the constitutional rights of non-Indian parents and children," said Professor Mary Beck, University of Missouri School of Law. "The Court's decision in this case will end some of the confusion created by inconsistent state court rulings and laws."

Click here for more on the day of SCOTUS arguments.

Watch more on how adoption attorneys move forward with this case and other adoptions involving ICWA. That's tonight on News 2 at 5:00 and 6:00.

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