Here is “The most important thing a president can do.”
Yet there have always been Native American lawyers who could have served; the talent has always been there. It’s possible the next round of appointments could make history because so many Native American lawyers have the same or better legal experience than other appointments to the courts.
“Even over the past few years we have always had really great well qualified attorneys,” said Joel West Williams, Cherokee Nation, a senior attorney with Native American Rights Fund in Washington. “The biggest thing that has changed is they have worked their way into positions such as state supreme court justice — and that is a prime position from which to be selected.”
There are three Native Americans actively serving in the federal courts. President Barack Obama appointed U.S. District Judge Diane Humetewa, Hopi, in Arizona, and U.S. District Judge Derrick Watson, Native Hawaiian, in Hawaii. President Trump appointed U.S. District Judge Ada Elene Brown, Choctaw, in the Northern District of Texas.
There are three Native Americans now serving on state supreme courts, Justice Rachel Montoya-Lewis, Isleta Pueblo, in Washington, Ann McKeig, White Earth, and in Oklahoma, Dustin Rowe, Chickasaw.