Hmm… given the significance of Judge Jeffrey Viken’s ruling in the American Indian foster care/Indian Child Welfare Act case in Rapid City, I’d have thought that our state Republican party would have had some press release extolling the sanctity of family values and criticizing an overreaching state for violating parental rights.
South Dakota Democratic Party Vice-Chair Joe Lowe at least has something constructive to say about family values and propers checks on government power:
Chief U.S. District Judge Viken’s Federal Court Order righted a wrong that has been going on for years. Native American children were taken away from their parents without due process in our State. Our state will now have to treat these parents fairly and with dignity.
For years parents and guardians have complained about their rights being violated during child custody hearings in State Courts. Many were never advised they could contest the State’s petition for temporary custody. They were not advised they could call witnesses during the hearing. The State was never required to present sworn testimony from a live witness and parents were never told that they had the right to testify at the first hearing after a child had been taken.
This court order is a tremendous victory for our State. No child should ever be taken away from their parents without due process. This ruling ensures all are treated equally [Joe Lowe, press release, 2015.04.01].
Not one of those words would set a Republican tongue ablaze. Defending parental rights and demanding due process should roll right off the conservative tongue. But in South Dakota, it takes our man Joe to put things in perspective.