by Sam Spence
Broken Home: The Save Veronica Story originally ran as a cover story on September 26, 2012.
As Matt and Melanie Capobianco wait to hear if the U.S. Supreme Court will hear the case related to custody of the 3-year old toddler named Veronica, who they adopted at birth in 2009, the Guardian ad Litem for the child has filed a brief to the Court in support of the adoptive parents, pushing the Court to move forward hearing the case filed early last month.
In the petition, the Guardian ad Litem, a court-appointed guardian who advocates in the best interests for a child involved in custody cases similar to Veronica's, says that they "exhaustively considered the child's best interests and concluded that they clearly would be served by allowing her adoptive parents to retain custody."
The brief, filed by attorneys Paul Clement of Washington, D.C. and Thomas Lowndes of Charleston, raises the question of whether the child's best interests were overridden by federal law when the South Carolina Supreme Court applied the Indian Child Welfare Act to rule in 2011 that the child be turned over to her birth father, asking the SCOTUS to examine whether the act "operates to block adoption proceedings voluntarily initiated by a non-Indian mother who has sole custody of her child due to the Indian father's failure to establish a legal parent-child relationship with the child under state law."
Adoptive parents Matt and Melanie Capobianco filed a writ of certiorari to the high court on October 5, asking the justices to take up the South Carolina court's interpretation of the Indian Child Welfare Act, a 1978 law designed to protect Native American families. Since being turned over to her birth father Dusten Brown in an emotional street-corner exchange in December 2011, Veronica, who now goes by the name Ronnie, has lived with her father in Oklahoma. The couple appeared on Dr. Phil last month, where the host cross-examined the Capobiancos as well as experts in Native American law.