PHOENIX -- The U.S. Senate this week confirmed the appointment of six judges to the federal court bench in Arizona, including the first Native American woman to ever serve as a U.S. District Court judge.
Diane Humetewa, a Hopi, is a former U.S. attorney for the District of Arizona and has been a prosecutor and judge for the Hopi tribe.
"Her appointment is certainly historic," said Carl Tobias, a professor at the University of Richmond School of Law, who closely follows the politics surrounding judicial appointments. "She will be the only active Native American judge and the first woman."
Former U.S. Attorney Paul Charlton said that Humetewa "has extraordinarily sound judgment. She's fair and impartial."
Charlton also noted the historic nature of her appointment.
"In this state more than any other, where we have 21 reservations and all felony offenses are tried in federal court, we do not have a bench that reflects the community it serves," Charlton said. "And now, for the first time in our nation's history, we'll have a representative to the bench."
Humetewa served as U.S. attorney for Arizona between 2007 and 2009.