Blog: Cherokee woman's DOJ nomination delayed
"Democrats and American Indian leaders are pushing the Senate to move on the nomination of Mary L. Smith to head the Justice Department’s Tax Division, despite lingering questions about her qualifications.

Smith, a member of the Cherokee Nation, was reported out of the Senate Judiciary Committee June 11 without the support of the panel’s Republican members. The Republicans complained that the partner at the Schoeman, Updike & Kaufman law firm in Chicago had virtually no tax experience.

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) has blamed Republicans for blocking her nomination. If confirmed, Smith would be the first American Indian to serve as an Assistant Attorney General.

“It is widely known among tribal leaders that her nomination has been pending for an overly long period and the frustration is growing,” Jefferson Keel, president of the National Congress of American Indian,wrote in a letter to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) last Thursday.

Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe chairman and CEO W. Ron Allen and National Native American Bar Association president Lael Echohawk also recently wrote letters here and here in support of Smith. ”[The National Native American Bar Association is] very concerned with the lack of progress on Mary’s nomination,” Echohawk wrote last week to the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Leahy spoke on the Senate floor last week about the need to move on Smith and three other DOJ nominees who have been stalled for months. Bush Tax Division chief Eileen O’Connor and her successor, Nathan Hochman, were confirmed within a day of being reported out of committee, Leahy said."

Get the Story:
American Indian Leaders Question Delays On Tax Nominee (Main Justice 11/3)

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