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Federal appeals court to rehear law on adoptions of Native American children

NEW ORLEANS — A federal appeals court will reconsider its decision upholding a law that gives preference to Native American families in foster care and adoption proceedings involving American Indian children.

The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans posted its decision Thursday.

In August, a three-judge panel of the court upheld the Indian Child Welfare Act of 1978. It was a defeat for non-Indian families in multiple states who had adopted or sought to adopt American Indian children.

On Thursday, the court said a majority of its active judges have voted to re-hear the appeal. It means Native American tribes will again have to defend the law, which they say is critical to protect and preserve Native American culture and families.

A hearing date has not been set.

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