by Sam Spence
According to a Court schedule released Monday, lawyers representing a James Island couple, Matt and Melanie Capobianco, will head to the Supreme Court of the United States on April 16 to present oral arguments in their case regarding custody of their adopted daughter Veronica, who now lives with her birth father after being granted custody by the South Carolina Supreme Court in an emotional decision in 2011. The 'Save Veronica' story has made national headlines since that time and is the first case since 1989 that the Court has taken up dealing with the Indian Child Welfare Act of 1978, a federal law related to the removal of Native American children from their families.
The Court is expected to rule on procedures for adoption in the case of an Indian and non-Indian couple as well as clarifying whether the law's definition of a 'parent' includes an unwed biological parent who failed to meet standards to retain legal status as a parent. The oral arguments are likely the final chapter of the Veronica case, and will determine custody of three-year old Veronica as well as set precedent for subsequent cases related to the Indian Child Welfare Act.
For more about the case, read Allyson Bird's September City Paper cover story, "Broken Home: The Save Veronica Story".