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Diane Humetewa earns praise as choice for federal judgeship

Diane Humetewa
Diane Humetewa

Diane Humetewa, a member of the Hopi Tribe of Arizona, is winning praise as the first Native American woman to be nominated for a federal judgeship.

Humetewa has dedicated her career to the law and Indian issues. After working in Washington, D.C., for the Department of Justice and the Senate Indian Affairs Committee, she served as U.S. Attorney for Arizona during the second half of the Bush administration and was the first Native woman in such a position.

"Ms. Humetewa’s stellar career, including her position as a federal prosecutor, will serve her well as the first female Native American ever appointed to the federal judiciary and the only American Indian in the federal judiciary,” Mary Smith, the president of the National Native American Bar Association, said in a press release.

Assistant Secretary Kevin Washburn, the head of the Bureau of Indian Affairs, said Humetewa's nomination was "historic." "She is tough, but compassionate, and I know that she can gracefully handle the stress of being the first Native American woman to travel this path," he told Indian Country Today.

Humetewa's former boss, Sen. John McCain (R-Arizona), also welcomed the news. She was nominated to fill one of six vacancies on the federal bench in Arizona.

“The nominees to serve on the United States District Court for the District of Arizona have demonstrated devotion to public service and commitment to justice, and I believe they are uniquely qualified to address the legal issues facing our state," McCain said in a press release.

As part of the nomination process, Humetewa faces a confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee. If she is approved there, she would be sent to the Senate for final consideration.

Obama's judicial nominees have faced numerous delays on Capitol Hill. But if lawmakers act quickly, as McCain urged in his press release, Humetewa could join the federal court by the end of the year.

Get the Story:
Obama Nominates Native American Woman to Federal Court (Indian Country Today 9/19)
Hopi Citizen Diane Humetewa Nominated by President to be Federal District Court Judge (Native News Network 9/19)
White House nominates four to fill judgeships on Arizona federal court (Cronkite News 9/19)
Obama nominates 4 Arizonans to fill U.S. District Court vacancies (The Arizona Republic 9/20)

Related Stories:
Obama nominates Diane Humetewa, Hopi, as a federal judge (9/19)

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