COLUMBIA, S.C. (WCSC/AP) - The biological mother of a girl at the center of a South Carolina adoption dispute has sued the federal government over a law governing the placement of Indian children.
Christy Maldonado on Wednesday sued U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder seeking a declaration that parts of the Indian Child Welfare Act are unconstitutional.
Maldonado's says the law considers race in determining with whom a child should live and therefore violates equal protection provisions.
Matt and Melanie Capobianco have been trying to adopt Maldonado's now-3-year-old daughter, Veronica, since the girl's birth. Veronica lived with them for two years but has been with her biological father, Dusten Brown, since a 2011 state court ruling gave him preference because of his Cherokee heritage.
South Carolina's highest court ruled last week that she should be returned to the James Island couple after the United States Supreme Court ruled Brown's heritage didn't apply in the case.
Brown and the Cherokee Nation filed petitions for a rehearing on the state court's latest decision, but they were denied Wednesday.
Several American Indian groups threatened to pursue legal action earlier this week.