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Senate Appoints Native American Judge to The Federal Whole

by Lester Blair
Senate Confirms 4th Native American Judge On The Entire Federal Bench
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Tuesday’s Senate vote confirmed Lauren J. The Senate confirmed Lauren J. King as a U.S. judge at a district court. This makes her the only Native American judge on all of the federal benches.

King (39 years old) was elected to a permanent seat at the U.S. District Court, Western District of Washington. All present Democrat voted for King. Six Republicans supported her vote: Senators. Susan Collins (Maine), Lindsey Graham(S.C.), Chuck Grassley, Iowa), Mitch McConnell (10 Ky.), Lisa Murkowski-Alaska and Mike Rounds (12 S.D.You can also see.

Voting ended at 55-44

King, who is from the Muscogee Nation, was most recently an Attorney at Foster Garvey P.C. in Seattle. King has been serving as pro tem judge in appellate cases for the Northwest Intertribal Court System from 2013 to 2013. She previously taught Federal Indian Law at Seattle University School of Law.

Three other Native American judges are currently serving on the federal judiciary, out of more than 900 approved federal judgeships. They are U.S. Circuit Judges Ada Brown, Lydia Kay Griggsby, and Diane Humetewa.

Only six Native Americans ever have served as federal judges over the course of the 230 year history of 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). Apart from the four mentioned judges (including King), the two other U.S. District Judges Michael Burrage Seay and Frank Howell Seay were also included.

A U.S. appeals court has not had an Indigenous judge.

In his selection of judges, President Joe Biden made diversity an important factor, not only in terms demographics like race or gender but also for professional backgrounds. To date, his court selections include Public DefendersThe following are historic firsts, civil rights lawyers, voting right lawyers, and voting rights lawyers Native AmericanAnd Muslim AmericanPicks

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. He said that it also increases confidence in courts when judges reflect their constituents.

Tobias said that it is especially important for Native Americans to be represented in federal courts, particularly in Indian Country or in the West where they have a significant impact on the lives and livelihoods of many Native American tribes and peoples.

“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.”

Patty Murray, a Democratic senator from Washington, recommended King to Biden in order for him to be elected as a judge. It is home to 29 tribes federally recognized and it has had no Indigenous federal judges 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 all senators recommends individuals to the White House for judgesships. This is based on candidates that were presented by her state’s judiciary selection committee. Rion Ramirez is Rion’s CEO at Port Madison Enterprises. This is Port Madison Enterprises’ economic development arm. Ramirez, a Turtle Mountain Chippewa Band of Indians member, is enrolled.

“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.”

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