Heather Dawn Thompson: A Native on Supreme Court
"As you weigh the various candidates for the upcoming Supreme Court vacancy, the National Native American Bar Association strongly asks you to consider a Native American candidate. While much of America is underrepresented on the Supreme Court, the U.S. has never appointed an individual indigenous to this country to its Supreme Court.

President Obama, the Native American community turns to you humbled. We recognize with a warm heart that many of our brothers and sisters also turn to you with sincere and important interests in seeing familiar faces on the Supreme Court. However, we turn to you with pleas and desperation. For more than 200 years the United States Supreme Court has sat in judgment over us, over our lands, over our treaties, and over our families. Not one single day have we ever had a voice in those decisions.

No Native American Supreme Court Justice, Federal Judge, nor Supreme Court Clerk. Not only has a Native American never served on the Supreme Court, there is not a single Native on the federal bench in the entire country and, to the best of our knowledge, there has never been a Native American Supreme Court clerk. There are 866 federal judgeships (nine on the Supreme Court, 179 on the Courts of Appeals and 678 in the District Courts), and not one Native American federal judge.

Dozens of Qualified Native American Candidates. While the Native bar is small, where we lack in quantity, we excel in quality. Because there are so few Native attorneys, they must each be excellent not only in their own field, but in tribal, state and federal law. There are dozens of Native attorneys qualified for the federal bench and a number of qualified Natives for the Supreme Court, such as John EchoHawk (who many consider the Thurgood Marshall of Indian country), Larry EchoHawk and Kevin Gover."

Get the Story:
Heather Dawn Thompson: Dear President Obama (Indian Country Today 5/15)

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