Senate Confirms 4th Native American Judge On The Entire Federal Bench | HuffPost Communities

  

Category:  News & Politics

Via:  kavika  •  3 weeks ago  •  28 comments

By:   jbendery (HuffPost)

Senate Confirms 4th Native American Judge On The Entire Federal Bench | HuffPost Communities
Lauren King, 39, now holds a lifetime seat on a U.S. district court in Washington state.

S E E D E D   C O N T E N T



Lauren J. King testifies before the Senate Judiciary Committee on June 9. President Joe Biden nominated King to be a judge on the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington.CSPAN

The Senate voted Tuesday to confirm Lauren J. King to a U.S. district court, making her just the fourth Native American judge on the entire federal bench.

King, 39, was confirmed to a lifetime seat on the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington. Every Democrat present voted for her. Six Republicans voted for her: Sens. Susan Collins (Maine), Lindsey Graham (S.C.), Chuck Grassley (Iowa), Mitch McConnell (Ky.), Lisa Murkowski (Alaska) and Mike Rounds (S.D.).

The final vote was 55-44.

King, a citizen of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation based in Oklahoma, was most recently an attorney at the Seattle-based law firm Foster Garvey, P.C. She has served as a pro tem appellate judge for the Northwest Intertribal Court System since 2013 and previously taught Federal Indian Law at the Seattle University School of Law.

She joins three other Native American judges actively serving on the federal bench out of nearly 900 authorized federal judgeships. Those three are U.S. District Judges Diane Humetewa, Ada Brown and Lydia Kay Griggsby.

There have only ever been six Native Americans who have been federal judges in the 230-year history of the U.S. courts. That's out of more than 4,200 people who have served as Article III judges (i.e., lifetime judges on district courts, appeals courts and the Supreme Court). Besides the four previously mentioned judges, including King, the other two were U.S. District Judges Michael Burrage and Frank Howell Seay.

There has never been an Indigenous judge on a U.S. appeals court.

President Joe Biden has made diversity a driving factor in his judicial picks, both in terms of demographics, such as race and gender, but also in terms of professional backgrounds. His court picks to date have included public defenders, civil rights lawyers, voting rights lawyers and historic firsts with Native American and Muslim American picks.

Diversity on the federal bench is "critical" because it brings different perspectives into the courtroom and constricts biases relating to gender and ethnicity that can undermine justice, said Carl Tobias, a University of Richmond law professor and an expert in judicial nominations. It also improves confidence in the courts when the judges on them reflect the people they serve, he said.

It is particularly important to have Native American judges, added Tobias, especially in Indian Country and in the West, where the federal courts substantially affect the lives of so many Native American people and tribes.

"In some of these places, Native Americans are overrepresented as litigants in the federal courts and severely underrepresented as judges of those courts," he said. "Moreover, Indian Law is an exceedingly complex and highly specialized area of law that many lawyers in practice, even those who work and live in Indian Country, may understand minimally, if at all."

Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) recommended King to Biden for a judgeship. Her state is home to 29 federally recognized tribes and has never had an Indigenous federal judge until now.

"I believe that this is a perspective that matters, and one that has been missing for far too long," she told HuffPost. "To have a judge in front of you who has stepped foot on tribal land and understands the process ― this perspective is really important for people to know when they go through the process, that they have someone with expertise."

Murray, like other senators, recommends people to the White House for judgeships based on potential candidates presented to her by a judicial selection committee in her state. She noted that her commission is the first in the country to explicitly include a representative from a tribal nation, Rion Ramirez, who is the CEO of Port Madison Enterprises, the economic development arm of the Suquamish Tribe. Ramirez is an enrolled member of the Turtle Mountain Chippewa Band of Indians.

"I think he brings a voice into the room, I can only guess, to have this perspective, to make sure people listened when Lauren applied," said Murray. "She is an outstanding candidate."

Jennifer Bendery


Senior Politics Reporter, HuffPost

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Kavika
Professor Principal
1  seeder  Kavika     3 weeks ago

Very good news, hopefully, there will be more. 

"Moreover, Indian Law is an exceedingly complex and highly specialized area of law that many lawyers in practice, even those who work and live in Indian Country, may understand minimally, if at all."

The two on SCOTUS that are experts in Indian Law are Justice Gorush and Sotomayer.

 
 
 
Gsquared
Junior Principal
1.1  Gsquared  replied to  Kavika @1    3 weeks ago

That is very good news.  Hopefully, there will be many more.

 
 
 
devangelical
Professor Principal
1.1.1  devangelical  replied to  Gsquared @1.1    3 weeks ago

... many more NA judges need to be appointed.

 
 
 
Sister Moosh Noosh Ample Bottom
Professor Guide
2  Sister Moosh Noosh Ample Bottom    3 weeks ago

Fabulous news!!

And am I hallucinating, or did I see Lindsey Graham and Mitch McConnell on the short list of Republican approvals?

 
 
 
Kavika
Professor Principal
2.1  seeder  Kavika   replied to  Sister Moosh Noosh Ample Bottom @2    3 weeks ago
And am I hallucinating, or did I see Lindsey Graham and Mitch McConnell on the short list of Republican approvals?

You did see their names but it could have been that they thought that they were voting for Rand Paul. jrSmiley_4_smiley_image.png

 
 
 
Sister Moosh Noosh Ample Bottom
Professor Guide
2.1.1  Sister Moosh Noosh Ample Bottom  replied to  Kavika @2.1    3 weeks ago
You did see their names but it could have been that they thought that they were voting for Rand Paul.

Hey, I'm the one who tells the funny jokes around here. jrSmiley_7_smiley_image.png

 
 
 
Raven Wing
Professor Principal
2.2  Raven Wing  replied to  Sister Moosh Noosh Ample Bottom @2    3 weeks ago

Same here. it is awesome that Native Americans are now being acknowledged for their knowledge and contributions. I truly hope that there will be many more to come in the very near future.

 
 
 
Kavika
Professor Principal
2.2.1  seeder  Kavika   replied to  Raven Wing @2.2    3 weeks ago

Fingers crossed for more.

 
 
 
Drakkonis
Masters Guide
2.2.2  Drakkonis  replied to  Kavika @2.2.1    3 weeks ago
Fingers crossed for more.

This might sound like an odd question, but, why? Not against it or anything, just wondering. 

 
 
 
Kavika
Professor Principal
2.2.3  seeder  Kavika   replied to  Drakkonis @2.2.2    2 weeks ago
This might sound like an odd question, but, why? Not against it or anything, just wondering. 

Since it will give us (Native Americans) some representation which we have been lacking for centuries. 

 
 
 
1stwarrior
Professor Guide
2.2.4  1stwarrior  replied to  Kavika @2.2.3    2 weeks ago

.00444444% (4/900) of the Fed judges will be NA - still gotta long way to go.

 
 
 
Drakkonis
Masters Guide
2.2.5  Drakkonis  replied to  Kavika @2.2.3    2 weeks ago
Since it will give us (Native Americans) some representation which we have been lacking for centuries. 

Thank you.

 
 
 
Drakkonis
Masters Guide
2.2.6  Drakkonis  replied to  1stwarrior @2.2.4    2 weeks ago
.00444444% (4/900) of the Fed judges will be NA - still gotta long way to go.

How many Native Americans pursue a career in law? 

 
 
 
Kavika
Professor Principal
2.2.7  seeder  Kavika   replied to  Drakkonis @2.2.6    2 weeks ago

In addition to my great niece and nephew over 3,000 active NA lawyers in the US not counting those currently enrolled in law schools across the country.

1st can add more information to this.

 
 
 
Sister Moosh Noosh Ample Bottom
Professor Guide
2.2.8  Sister Moosh Noosh Ample Bottom  replied to  Drakkonis @2.2.6    2 weeks ago
How many Native Americans pursue a career in law?

Not nearly enough.  But visible representation provides a stronger atmosphere for identifying and promoting Native American causes.  More money for education would fit nicely into that atmosphere.

 
 
 
1stwarrior
Professor Guide
2.2.9  1stwarrior  replied to  Kavika @2.2.7    2 weeks ago

They've pretty well covered it.  The Native Attorney's are looking for more, 'specially since the McGirt decision 'cause it opened a whole new ballgame.

 
 
 
Drakkonis
Masters Guide
2.2.10  Drakkonis  replied to  Kavika @2.2.7    2 weeks ago
1st can add more information to this.

Thank you, both.

 
 
 
1stwarrior
Professor Guide
3  1stwarrior    3 weeks ago

They should have added "King was born in Oklahoma City. She earned a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Washington in 2004 and a Juris Doctor from the University of Virginia School of Law in 2008."

 
 
 
Kavika
Professor Principal
3.1  seeder  Kavika   replied to  1stwarrior @3    3 weeks ago

There was a more complete article on Native News Online but you can no longer ''fetch'' from that site.

 
 
 
Perrie Halpern R.A.
Professor Principal
4  Perrie Halpern R.A.    3 weeks ago

Most excellent news! It's good to know that Indians are being represented in all parts of government. It finally feels like America is embracing its own people.

 
 
 
Kavika
Professor Principal
4.1  seeder  Kavika   replied to  Perrie Halpern R.A. @4    3 weeks ago

And there is another native awaiting senate confirmation.

President Biden to Nominate Navajo Citizen Shelly Lowe to be Chair of the National Endowment for the Humanities

 
 
 
Buzz of the Orient
Professor Principal
5  Buzz of the Orient    2 weeks ago

I'd be willing to bet that Native American Judges are less likely to be influenced by political leanings, which seems to me to be a pretty prevalent situation in the USA.

 
 
 
Trout Giggles
Professor Principal
6  Trout Giggles    2 weeks ago

Great news! And as young as she is she could be going places like maybe SCOTUS

 
 
 
Kavika
Professor Principal
6.1  seeder  Kavika   replied to  Trout Giggles @6    2 weeks ago
Great news! And as young as she is she could be going places like maybe SCOTUS

Wouldn't that be great.

 
 
 
Trout Giggles
Professor Principal
6.1.1  Trout Giggles  replied to  Kavika @6.1    2 weeks ago

It would be

 
 
 
1stwarrior
Professor Guide
6.1.2  1stwarrior  replied to  Trout Giggles @6.1.1    2 weeks ago

All four of the NA judges are women - WOWOWOWOWOW.

Have her, Diane, Neil and Sonya - wow - let's tear up some butt.

 
 
 
Kavika
Professor Principal
7  seeder  Kavika     2 weeks ago

More good news. 

Joe Biden reactivates Arctic Executive Steering Committee with Alaska Native heading it.

 
 
 
CB
Professor Principal
8  CB     2 weeks ago

Congratulations! 'People of Color' in high places 'matter'!

 
 
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