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Senate committee to take up Bill Myers judgeship
Tuesday, February 3, 2004

The Senate Judiciary Committee will hold a confirmation hearing on Wednesday for William G. Myers III to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.

The National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) and the California Nations Indian Gaming Association (CNIGA) have come out against the nomination. They say Myers, a former industry lobbyist, holds dangerous views on tribal sovereignty. They cite his record as the Department of Interior's top lawyer in which he lifted protections for sacred sites in California and advanced a view of diminished trust management before the U.S. Supreme Court.

Jennifer K. Harvey, an Indian attorney at the Holland & Hart law firm where Myers is of counsel, takes a different view. In a recent letter to Indianz.Com, she called her colleague a "smart advocate who has familiarity with tribal issues and federal Indian law and who understands and supports tribal sovereignty." Harvey said Myers is very fair and is not guided by an anti-Indian agenda.

In advance of the hearing, NCAI's executive director Jackie Johnson will join several national environmental and civil rights groups to express their opposition to Myers. Johnson plans to highlight his record on tribal affairs.

If confirmed to the 9th Circuit, Myers would hear a large number of cases affected American Indians in several Western states, Alaska Natives and Native Hawaiians. The court has often decided in favor of tribal interests, only to be reversed by the Supreme Court.

The confirmation hearing will take place at 10 a.m. in Room 226 of the Dirksen Senate Office Building. More information can be found at http://judiciary.senate.gov/hearing.cfm?id=1030.

Relevant Documents:
NCAI Resolution | Environmental Group's Letter | Holland & Hart Biography

Indianz.Com Profile:
Industry insider named to Interior (March 30, 2001)

From the Archive:
Myers reversing sacred site opinion (10/25)
Bush nominee has no 'agenda' on Clinton decisions (6/21)

Related Stories:
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Interior's top lawyer stepping down next month (10/02)
DOI's top lawyer under ethics investigation (08/15)
Interior has few answers at Senate hearing (7/18)
Tribes push action on sacred sites (3/21)
Interior Solicitor on trust fund crash course (10/17)
Memo: Solicitor's order was 'intimidating' (10/10)

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