- Associated Press - Monday, March 20, 2017

PHOENIX (AP) - A federal judge has dismissed an advocacy group’s lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of a federal law on placements of Native American children removed from their parents’ custody.

The suit filed in 2015 by the Goldwater Institute contended that the Indian Child Welfare Act is discriminatory.

The act prioritizes placing Native American children removed from the custody of their parents with relatives or another Native American family. It was passed in 1978 to prevent the break-up of Native American families after officials found children within tribes were being removed from homes at disproportionately high rates.

U.S. Senior District Judge Neal V. Wake’s ruling Thursday says the individuals named as plaintiffs lack legal standing to mount the challenge and that the court doesn’t have jurisdiction to decide the case.

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