Senate Confirms Diane Hemetewa the First Active Member of a Native American Tribe

Photo Credit: Morguefile.com

Photo Credit: Morguefile.com

The Senate quietly made history Wednesday night as they confirmed Diane Humetewa. She is the first Native American ever to hold this position.

Humetewa, a Hopi, is a former U.S. attorney for the District of Arizona, serving between 2007 and 2009. She has been a prosecutor and judge for the Hopi tribe. Carl Tobias, a professor at the University Of Richmond School Of Law, closely follows the politics surrounding judicial appointments, He said “Her appointment is certainly historic; she will be the only active Native American judge and the first woman.”

Former U.S. Attorney, Paul Charlton, attested to Humetewa’s credentials saying, “She has extraordinarily sound judgment. She’s fair and impartial.”

Charlton also added to the historical significance of Humetewa’s appointment. “In this state more than any other, where we have 21 reservations, and all felony offenses are tried in federal court, we do not have a bench that reflects the community it serves, and now, for the first time in our nation’s history, we’ll have a representative to the bench.”

Humetewa was confirmed 96-0 and is the first active member of a Native American tribe on the bench.

The National Congress of American Indians released a statement sharing in the celebration of Humetewa’s appointment, “NCAI greatly appreciates the efforts of the President and Senate in achieving this historic confirmation, there are many qualified, talented people like Diane Humetewa in Indian Country who are able and willing to serve. We eagerly anticipate many more nominations of Native people to the federal bench and other offices.”

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