The birth father in the Baby Veronica case has asked the Supreme Court to postpone the South Carolina Supreme Court decision that would move the child to live with her adoptive parents. In June, the decision in Adoptive Couple v. Baby Girl held that the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) did not protect the birth father from having his parental rights terminated. The S.C. Supreme Court had previously ruled in the father’s favor as it interpreted ICWA, but last week awarded full custody to the adoptive parents based on the holding in the Supreme Court’s decision.
The adoptive father argues that the Supreme Court’s decision provided an opening for him to pursue a new claim to the child’s custody, specifically that the state court would have an opportunity when the case returned to it to consider adoption by others in his family, as well as an opportunity to consider what would be in the current best interest of the child. The application argued that the South Carolina Supreme Court’s decision that it was in the best interest of the child to live with the adoptive parents could not have been based on the current best interests of Baby Veronica, who has spent the last 19 months living with her father. Furthermore, attempts have been made by the child’s Cherokee grandparents and the adoptive father’s wife to adopt the child.
According to SCOTUSblog, Chief Justice Roberts has called for a response to the application, which must be filed by two o’clock Friday afternoon.