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Court dismisses challenge to Indian child welfare law

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. — A federal appeals court has dismissed a challenge to a law that gives preference to American Indian families in adoptions of Native children.

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals didn’t rule on the constitutionality of the federal Indian Child Welfare Act.

Rather, it dismissed the complaint from a Phoenix-based right-leaning think tank, the Goldwater Institute, saying it’s moot.

The institute had sought to keep two children with ties to the Gila River and Navajo tribes from being removed from their non-Native foster parents.

Those children since have been adopted.

The law firm Akin Gump represented the tribes. Attorney Don Pongrace says the court’s decision is one victory in an ongoing struggle to protect tribal sovereignty.

The Goldwater Institute said Tuesday it will ask the 9th Circuit for a rehearing.

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