Recent Court Rulings
A child reared in a home with parents of a different race will be apt to meet and want to marry a person of his or her parents' background, not its own.1
So read a 1954 Georgia statute which forbade transracial adoption. One might have expected that laws based solely on race would no longer be tolerated in U.S. society. In fact, recent decisions by the U.S. Supreme Court have stated that laws that consider race a factor are "inherently suspicious." The Court has also declared that the statutory use of race will be considered consitutional. only if it assists the interests of the government, is necessary, and is "precisely tailored."2
In 1985, transracial adoption is a legal form of child placement in every state. Nevertheless, when adoptions or custody petitions are interracial, they are often denied by the court, initially or on appeal, for no other reason than race. In a 1968 law review article, Susan Grossman argued that decisions against transracial placements, based solely on the criterion of race, are a violation of the Fourteenth Amendment.3
No State shall . . . deprive any person of life, liberty or property without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.
The test of the equal protection standard is "essentially one of reasonableness; the equal protection clause requires the states to exercise their powers so as not to discriminate between their inhabitants except upon some reasonable differentiation fairly related to the object of regulation."4Thus, regarding TRA, the courts have been charged with the task of deciding if the use of race as a factor in adoption proceedings is reasonable in light of the judicial purpose, which is to determine the best interests of the child.