Senate Confirms First-Ever Native American Woman As Federal Judge

The Senate quietly made history on Wednesday night when it confirmed Diane Humetewa as a federal judge — the first Native American woman to ever hold such a post.

Humetewa was confirmed 96-0 to serve on the U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona. She is a former U.S. attorney in Arizona and a member of the Hopi tribe. She is now the only Native American serving on the federal bench and just the third Native American in history to do so.

Her confirmation elicited a rare moment of bipartisan celebration on Twitter from the White House and Republican senators:

Senate just confirmed 3 judges 96-0 but still had to break R filibuster to do so. Includes 1st Native American woman to serve as fed judge!

Congrats to ‘s Diane Humetewa – confirmed today as the first Native American woman to ever serve on the federal bench!

Jeff Flake 

Good day! Senate just confirmed 3 AZ judges: Steven Logan, John Tuchi and Diane Humetewa, the first Native American woman on fed. bench.

The National Congress of American Indians also celebrated Humetewa’s achievement.

“NCAI greatly appreciates the efforts of the President and Senate in achieving this historic confirmation,” the organization said in a statement. “There are many qualified, talented people like Diane Humetewa in Indian Country who are able and willing to serve. We eagerly anticipate many more nominations of Native people to the federal bench and other offices.”

CORRECTION: This story previously said Humetewa was the first active member of a Native American tribe to serve on the federal bench. But in 1994, Michael Burrage, an active member of the Choctaw Nation, was confirmed as a federal judge in Oklahoma after being nominated by President Bill Clinton.