Johnson, Johnson, & Nolan Attorneys At Law
Call 618-207-4137
888-628-8977 Toll Free

Supreme Court ruling denies fathers’ rights

In Illinois and states around the country, many men are forced to defend their rights as fathers in custody and adoption disputes. And while paternity rights are ultimately upheld in many instances, there are cases that raise profound questions about the rights of biological fathers and how they can be effected by the law.

One such case has not only garnered a fair amount of media attention and controversy but it has also resulted in a landmark ruling by the country’s highest court. At the heart of the case is one biological father who began fighting for custody of his daughter when she was only four months old in 2009. The little girl’s mother placed her for adoption at birth, and she was adopted to a couple in South Carolina. 

Since the biological father is of Native American descent, the state’s Supreme Court ruled that he should have custody of his daughter. The man’s heritage was relevant to the case because the Indian Children Welfare Act (ICWA) prioritizes the adoption of Native American children to Native American families whenever possible.

The U.S. Supreme Court recently overruled the lower court’s decision, finding instead that the child belongs with the adoptive parents. That ruling is based on the Court’s opinion that the biological father forfeited his rights when the baby was born.

Even though four out of nine Supreme Court Justices disagreed with the ruling, the majority found that the ICWA was not relevant in this case. Now it’s up to the South Carolina court system to revisit the adoption dispute without considering the IWCA’s guidelines.    

As one dissenting justice noted, the little girl has lived with her father for almost two years now. Placing her with the adoptive parents at this point could mean justice for none in this case.

Source: US News, “Supreme Court Rules on Native American Adoption Case,” Tom Rogan, June 25, 2013

No Comments

Leave a comment
Comment Information

When you are ready to discuss your legal issue with an experienced Illinois lawyer, we will be here for you.

Email Us For A Response

Bold labels are required.

Contact Information

The use of the Internet or this form for communication with the firm or any individual member of the firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Confidential or time-sensitive information should not be sent through this form.


Privacy Policy

Johnson, Johnson, & NolanAttorneys At Law

Johnson, Johnson, & Nolan
11 South High Street
Belleville, IL 62220

Toll Free: 888-628-8977
Phone: 618-207-4137
Fax: 618-277-1184
Belleville Law Office Map