In re Z.J.G and M.G.

This court case is completed

Along with Seattle University School of Law's Center for Indian Law & Policy, the Korematsu Center, and several American Indian Law professors, the ACLU of Washington in filed an amicus brief on May 29, 2020 in the case of In re Z.J.G and M.G. The case revolved around the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA), which requires courts to give notice to applicable tribes when the court "knows or has reason to know" there is a Native American child in a child custody proceeding. Here, despite both of Z.J.G. and M.G.'s parents notifying the lower court of their Native heritage (Tlingit and Haida), the court found insufficient "reason to know" the children were in fact Native American. ACLU of Washington argued the lower court was obligated to have conducted a more thorough investigation into the children's Native heritage and then notify the applicable tribes. On September 3, 2020, the Washington Supreme Court ruled that the lower court did not properly follow ICWA and upheld a broader interpretation of the "reason to know" notice requirement. Washington's first Native American Supreme Court Justice, Raquel Montoya-Lewis (Pueblo of Isleta, Laguna Indian Tribe) wrote the opinion.
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