The Cherokee Nation Supreme Court now has two justices, as Angela Jones became only the second female to ever serve on the high court and the first female under Principal Chief Bill John Baker’s administration.
Jones, 43, and the mother of three was sworn into office on January 2 and will serve a 10-year term on the five-member Supreme Court bench. Her appointment was approved by the Cherokee Nation Tribal Council on December 10 and she follows Stacy Leeds who served from 2002 to 2006 as the second female to be appointed.
While on the Supreme Court, Jones will be interpreting Cherokee Nation laws, along with overseeing the decisions on a variety of cases that range from child custody and Indian Child Welfare Act issues to citizenship and policy issues.
"Historically, the Cherokee Nation has been a matriarchal society and has always looked to strong women for guidance and leadership. That is why it is critical to have women serving in the Nation's judicial branch today," said Principal Chief Bill John Baker. "The diversity and depth of experience Angela Jones brings as a prosecutor, defender and civil attorney in Cherokee and Muskogee counties will serve our citizens well. I believe her commitment to Cherokee juveniles and families is second to none, and I know she will have the Cherokee people in her heart in every action as a Supreme Court Justice."
Jones joins Justice John Garrett of Stilwell, Oklahoma as the second justice to be appointed to the bench since Chief Baker took office. She fills the bench seat once held by Justice Darrell Matlock Jr., whose term expired on December 31.
“I want to thank members of the Tribal Council and Chief Baker for this opportunity and their confidence in my abilities,” Jones said. “This is to me the highest honor as a Cherokee citizen, and I am very proud to be able to support and protect the Constitution for the Cherokee Nation and its citizens.”
Jones brings a law background of almost 20 years, from practicing in Tahlequah and Muskogee. She has served as the Assistant District Attorney for Muskogee County from 1995 to 1996 and for Cherokee County in 2007; and maintained her own practice in Tahlequah. She last served the Cherokee Nation as a hearing officer for the tribe’s administrative appeals board.
Her and her husband, Stephen, are residents of Tahlequah, Oklahoma and their children are Lindsey and Spencer Risenhoover and Wyatt Jones.