(Washington Post) A law governing adoptions of American Indian children, designed to keep them within American Indian families, has been struck down as unconstitutional by a federal judge in Texas.

In an Oct. 4 ruling that has stunned Indian-rights advocates, U.S. District Judge Reed O’Connor found that the Indian Child Welfare Act of 1978 illegally gives American Indian families preferential treatment in adoption proceedings for Indian children based on race, in violation of the Fifth Amendment’s equal protection guarantee.

Additionally, O’Connor ruled that the law violated the Tenth Amendment’s federalism guarantees, specifically the so-called anti-commandeering principle established by the Supreme Court most recently in a 2018 sports gambling case, Murphy v. NCAA et al, which bars Congress from “commanding” states to modify their laws.

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