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The majority ruling also chastised South Carolina jurists, saying that under their logic, “a biological Indian father could abandon his child in utero and refuse any support for the birth mother — perhaps contributing to the mother’s decision to put the child up for adoption — and then could play his ICWA trump card at the eleventh hour to override the mother’s decision and the child’s best interest.

“If this were possible, many prospective adoptive parents would surely pause before adopting any child who might possibly quality as an Indian under the ICWA,” the ruling said.

The case is Adoptive Couple v. Baby Girl, et al., U.S. Supreme Court, No. 12-399.