Opinion: Long overdue pick of Native woman as federal judge

Diane Humetewa
Diane Humetewa

Writer welcomes the nomination of Diane Humetewa, a member of the Hopi Tribe of Arizona, as federal judge in Arizona:
In our country's long history, just two have been confirmed to the bench by the U.S. Senate: Michael Burrage, member of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma and former U.S. District Judge; and Frank Howell Seay, a fellow (and active) U.S District Judge in Oklahoma who wasn't even aware of his Native American lineage until after he assumed his seat.

And so, it came as a pleasant surprise on Thursday, when the president announced he was nominating Professor Diane J. Humetewa to serve on the U.S. District Court for Arizona.

Humetewa is a strong nominee and should pass confirmation in the Senate with little trouble. A nationally-recognized expert on Native American legal issues, she has a longtime supporter in Sen. John McCain, who, along with then-fellow-Sen. John Kyl, aggressively lobbied then-Pres. George W. Bush for her nomination as U.S. Attorney for Arizona in 2007.

In today's political climate, that kind of bipartisan support is rare, but what's more notable is that Humetewa, if confirmed, will be the only member (and second ever) of a Native American tribe to serve in the federal judiciary (Judge Seay has heritage but not membership). And on top of that, she will be the first Native American woman to serve.

Get the Story:
Charles Clymer: Native American Woman Is Nominated to Federal Bench But Why Did It Take So Long? (The Huffington Post 9/23)

Related Stories:
Diane Humetewa earns praise as choice for federal judgeship (9/20)
Obama nominates Diane Humetewa, Hopi, as a federal judge (9/19)

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