WASHINGTON— Hopi citizen Diane Humetewa made history today, May 14, 2014, when the United States Senate confirmed her to serve on the federal bench as judge for the U.S. District Court for Arizona. Humetewa is the first American Indian woman to serve in the federal judiciary.
Senator Jon Tester (D- Montana), chairman of the Committee on Indian Affairs applauded Humetewa’s appointment:
“DIANE HUMETEWA IS AN INSPIRATION TO NATIVE PEOPLE, ESPECIALLY NATIVE WOMEN ACROSS INDIAN COUNTRY. THIS IS AN IMPORTANT APPOINTMENT AND LONG OVERDUE. I’M PLEASED THAT THE SENATE CAME TOGETHER IN A BIPARTISAN WAY TO GET THIS DONE. AS THE ONLY NATIVE AMERICAN IN ACTIVE SERVICE ON THE FEDERAL BENCH, DIANE PROVIDES MUCH-NEEDED EXPERTISE ON THE COMPLEXITIES OF FEDERAL LAW AND INDIAN SOVEREIGNTY.”
The National Congress of American Indians, the oldest, largest and most representative American Indian and Alaska Native organization in the country, released a statement of congratulations to her on her confirmation by the U.S. Senate.
Up until her confirmation, Humetewa was serving as Special Advisor to the President and Special Counsel in the Office of General Counsel at Arizona State University. She is also a Professor of Practice at Arizona State University’s Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law.
From 2002 to 2007, Humetewa was an Appellate Court Judge for the Hopi Tribe Appellate Court.
From 2009 to 2011, Humetewa was Of Counsel with Squire, Sanders & Dempsey LLP. She worked in the United States Attorney’s Office in the District of Arizona from 1996 to 2009, serving as Senior Litigation Counsel from 2001 to 2007 and as the United States Attorney from 2007 to 2009. During her tenure in the United States Attorney’s Office, Humetewa also served as Counsel to the Deputy Attorney General from 1996 to 1998.
From 1993 to 1996, she was Deputy Counsel for the United States Senate Committee on Indian Affairs. Humetewa received her Juris Doctor in 1993 from Arizona State University College of Law and her Bachelor’s of Science in 1987 from Arizona State.
On February 27, the Senate Judiciary Committee approved Humetewa’s nomination. Previously, Humetewa served as a prosecutor and an appellate court judge for the Hopi Nation, and was the first Native American woman to serve as a U.S. Attorney.