Attorney General Eric Holder offers South Dakota this parting gift—a redoubled commitment to enforcement of the Indian Child Welfare Act:

...[T]he Department of Justice is reinforcing and increasing staff for the Office of Tribal Justice—including experts with a deep understanding of the laws impacting Indian Country—to make certain that Indian men, women, and children will always have a voice in the policies and priorities of the Justice Department. And we are redoubling our support of the Indian Child Welfare Act, to protect Indian children from being illegally removed from their families; to prevent the further destruction of Native traditions through forced and unnecessary assimilation; and to preserve a vital link between Native children and their community that has too frequently been severed – sometimes by those acting in bad faith.

Today, I am pleased to announce that the Department of Justice is launching a new initiative to promote compliance with the Indian Child Welfare Act. Under this important effort, we are working to actively identify state-court cases where the United States can file briefs opposing the unnecessary and illegal removal of Indian children from their families and their tribal communities. We are partnering with the Departments of the Interior and Health and Human Services to make sure that all the tools available to the federal government are used to promote compliance with this important law. And we will join with those departments, and with tribes and Indian child-welfare organizations across the country, to explore training for state judges and agencies; to promote tribes’ authority to make placement decisions affecting tribal children; to gather information about where the Indian Child Welfare Act is being systematically violated; and to take appropriate, targeted action to ensure that the next generation of great tribal leaders can grow up in homes that are not only safe and loving, but also suffused with the proud traditions of Indian cultures.

Ultimately, these children – and all those of future generations – represent the single greatest promise of our partnership, because they will reap the benefits of our ongoing work for change [Attorney General Eric Holder, remarks, White House Tribal Nations Conference, Washington, DC, 2014.12.03].

South Dakota's least favorite NPR reporter, Laura Sullivan, notes that this commitment to heightened enforcement of ICWA is already evident in the Department of Justice's historic intervention in the ongoing lawsuit over Pennington County's allegedly discriminatory child custody practices against American Indian parents.


The NAACP booed Mitt Romney Wednesday for telling them he'd repeal ObamaCare. He probably wanted them to boo.

Yesterday the NAACP booed Vice President Joe Biden... for finishing his speech.

Of course, when the Vice President of the United States stands up for expanding voting rights and empowering more citizens, everyone should want to hear more:

On civil rights, your raison d'être &ndash the reason for our existence. And by the way, I want to remind everybody of one thing &ndash remember what this at its core was all about &ndash why this organization at its core was all about. It was the franchise. It was about the right to vote.

Because when you have the right to vote, you have the right to change things.

And we &ndash the President and I and Eric [Holder] and all of us &ndash we see a future where those rights are expanded not diminished, where racial profiling is a thing of the past...

Where access to the ballot is expanded and unencumbered, where there are no distinctions made on the basis of race or gender in access to housing and lending.

And so much more. Did you think we'd be fighting these battles again? [Vice President Joe Biden, speech to NAACP, transcript from Jenny Jiang,, 2012.07.12]

Attorney General Eric Holder criticized one key part of Republican efforts to turn the clock back on voting rights: voter ID laws. Addressing the NAACP Tuesday, he highlighted the clear discrimination written into a Texas voter ID law that favors shooters over students:

Attorney General Eric Holder deviated from his prepared remarks during a speech before the NAACP on Tuesday and called voter ID laws "poll taxes."

"Under the proposed law, concealed handgun licenses would be acceptable forms of photo ID, but student IDs would not," Holder said, referring specifically to the voter ID law passed in Texas. "Many of those without IDs would have to travel great distances to get them, and some would struggle to pay for the documents they might need to obtain them. We call those poll taxes" [emphasis original; Ryan J. Reilly, "Holder Calls Voter ID Laws 'Poll Taxes'," TPM:Muckraker, 2012.07.10]

Team Romney and the Republicans don't care if the NAACP boos; the GOP intends to kick them out of the voting booth. Biden, Holder, and Team Obama want the NAACP and every other American at the table, voting and enjoying an equal shot at the blessings of American liberty.


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