WASHINGTON (AP) — The birth father of a girl of Cherokee heritage asked the Supreme Court Friday to stop a state-court ordered handover of his daughter to adoptive parents.
The filing by Dusten Brown is the latest legal maneuver in a drawn-out fight for custody of 3-year-old Veronica. She lived the first 27 months of her life with adoptive parents Matt and Melanie Capobianco in South Carolina and the past 18 months with Brown in Oklahoma.
The Capobiancos won a Supreme Court ruling in June, and the South Carolina high court last week ordered a family court to finalize the adoption of Veronica by the Capobiancos.
Brown wants the justices to intervene again because he says the state judges misread the June ruling and did not take account of Veronica's interests. The Cherokee Nation, of which Brown is a member, also joined in the plea to the Supreme Court.
South Carolina courts originally said the 1978 Indian Child Welfare Act favored Veronica living with her biological father. That federal law seeks to keep Indian children from being taken from their homes and placed with non-Indian adoptive or foster parents
Brown had never met his daughter but objected when he discovered that Veronica was going to be adopted, saying the law favored the girl living with him and growing up learning tribal traditions.
Brown took custody in 2011, after the South Carolina Supreme Court's initial ruling.
The Capobiancos appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court, which said that South Carolina courts should decide who gets to adopt the girl.