U.S. Senate confirms solely sixth Native American ever to federal bench

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  • Lauren King confirmed to be first Native American federal decide in Washington state
  • King is fifteenth of President Joe Biden’s judicial picks to be confirmed

(Reuters) – The U.S. Senate on Tuesday voted to substantiate Lauren King to function a federal decide in Seattle, making her solely the sixth Native American to ever sit on the bench within the federal judiciary’s 232-year historical past.

The 55-44 vote cleared the way in which for King to grow to be solely the fourth energetic Native American federal decide nationally and the primary ever in Washington state. She is the fifteenth of President Joe Biden’s 53 judicial nominees to win affirmation.

Biden has sought to raise extra girls and minorities to the federal bench. U.S. Senator Dick Durbin of Illinois, the Democratic chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, in a speech on Monday referred to as King’s anticipated affirmation historic.

“With her confirmation, the members of the Senate can continue the vital work of building a federal judiciary that really reflects the diversity of this nation,” Durbin stated.

Six Republicans joined with Democrats to vote to substantiate King to serve on the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington, together with Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky and Chuck Grassley of Iowa, the rating GOP member on the Senate Judiciary committee.

The others have been Senators Susan Collins of Maine, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Mike Rounds of South Dakota.

King had been a principal at Foster Garvey, the Seattle regulation agency the place she chaired the agency’s Native American regulation follow group. She has additionally served as a professional tem appellate decide for the Northwest Intertribal Court System since 2013.

Before becoming a member of Foster Garvey, King was an affiliate at Byrnes Keller Cromwell from 2010 to 2012 and at Okay&L Gates from 2008 to 2009.

She has additionally served as a commissioner on the Washington State Gambling Commission.

King, a citizen of the Oklahoma-based Muscogee Nation, is the second Native American to be confirmed to the bench below Biden, after the Senate in June confirmed Lydia Griggsby, who can also be Black, to function a federal district decide in Maryland.

That’s probably the most Native American nominees to ever win affirmation below a single president.

Presidents Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, Barack Obama and Donald Trump had one Native American nominee every who gained affirmation, in accordance with the Federal Judicial Center.

The solely different energetic Native American judges are U.S. District Judge Diane Humetewa in Arizona, an Obama appointee, and U.S. District Judge Ada Elene Brown in Dallas, a Trump nominee.

Nate Raymond

Nate Raymond reviews on the federal judiciary and litigation. He could be reached at nate.raymond@thomsonreuters.com.

Lauren King testifies before a Senate Judiciary Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, June 9, 2021. U.S. Senate/Handout via Reuters