Target: United States District Judge Diane Humetewa
Goal: Congratulate the first-ever female Native American to serve as a U.S. District Court judge
Diane Humetewa recently made history as the first Native American woman to be confirmed as a federal judge. She is a former U.S. Attorney for the District of Arizona and a member of the Hopi tribe. She is also currently the only active Native American judge, and only the third Native American in United States history to serve on the federal bench.
Humetewa was nominated by President Obama in 2013 and confirmed by a unanimous vote in the Senate. The confirmation elicited a rare moment of bipartisan celebration from both Republican senators and the Obama administration. Humetewa earned her law degree in 1993 from the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at Arizona State University, where she also works as a special counsel and professor. Her service is especially significant in the state of Arizona, which has 21 Indian reservations and where all felony offenses are tried in federal court.
Since most law and policy relating to Native Americans in the U.S. is decided at the federal level, through legislation known as Federal Indian Law, Native American individuals and tribal entities are represented in federal court cases at rates greater than most other groups. Because of this increasing the representation of Native Americans on the federal bench is a top priority for Native American and social justice advocacy groups.
According to Justice at Stake, a national nonprofit dedicated to keeping courts fair and impartial, justice is best served when the make-up of our courts reflects the diversity of our society. Although Native Americans are still greatly underrepresented in politics at the federal level, this is an important step towards creating a truly representative judicial system. Congratulate Justice Humetewa on her appointment.
Dear Justice Humetewa,
Your recent confirmation as the first female Native American federal judge is a momentous and historic occasion. As the only active Native American judge on the bench, your service will help to ensure real justice for Native Americans in Arizona and throughout the country, and is an important step toward a more representative judicial system.
You have already accomplished so much, and I look forward to seeing what else you will accomplish in your new position. Your career is an inspiration to women and minorities everywhere, and to all people who care deeply about justice. Congratulations on your history-making appointment.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: United States Government via Wikimedia Commons