Hopi citizen Diane Humetewa is one step closer to becoming only the third Native American in history to serve on the federal bench and the first Native female to do so.
On February 27, the Senate Judiciary approved by a voice vote her nomination to become a judge for the U.S. District Court for Arizona. She now goes to the full Senate for consideration.
Humetewa was nominated by President Barack Obama to the position in 2013 after his administration forced her to step down from a U.S. attorney position in Arizona in 2009.
“Diane Humetewa should be the first of several [Indians on the current federal bench], not the one and only,” says Jack Trope, executive director of the Association on American Indian Affairs. “[T]he number of Native Americans appointed lags far behind all other minority groups.”
Congressional Black Caucus members have been pressing the president lately to nominate more underrepresented minorities to the federal bench.
The White House has pushed back against the idea that the administration has neglected to promote enough minorities to the bench, according to The Hill newspaper.