It's been a long time coming for Arizona's short-handed federal bench.
The local federal courts have been in a declared "state of emergency" since 2011, reports AZ Central, but the long-awaited reinforcements are on the way. Included in the slate of six are Rosemary Márquez, a defense attorney whose nomination has been pending for 1,057 days, and Diane Humetewa, a former U.S. attorney who will become the first Native American woman ever named to the federal bench, and third Native American overall.
It's been a rough battle to fill the seats, and an interesting turn of events for Humetewa, who was nominated to the bench by the same president who forced her resignation from the U.S. Attorney's Office in 2009.
Meet Your New Judges
The six confirmed nominees, according to AZ Central, include:
- Rosemary Márquez, a criminal defense attorney.
- James Alan Soto, a Santa Cruz County Superior Court judge in Nogales with experience as a prosecutor and civil attorney.
- Diane Humetewa, a former U.S. attorney for the District of Arizona.
- Steven Paul Logan, a U.S. magistrate at the District Court in Phoenix.
- John Joseph Tuchi, an assistant U.S. attorney in Phoenix.
- Douglas Rayes, a Maricopa County Superior Court judge since 2000, who has been that court's presiding criminal judge and who has been a judge advocate in the U.S. Army.
The end of the logjam was a largely bipartisan effort, with Márquez receiving the recommendation of Rep. Raúl Grijalva and then-Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, both Democrats, and the slate as a whole getting strong support from Sen. John McCain and Sen. Jeff Flake, two Republicans.
Once, Twice, a First
Humetewa is not only the first Native American woman to become a federal judge, but she was also the first female Native American U.S. Attorney.
Interestingly enough, her tenure at the U.S. Attorney's Office, which included taking down then-Rep. Rick Renzi (R-Ariz.), was ended when she was forced to resign by President Barack Obama, who now is responsible for putting her on the federal bench. Her resignation was apparently politically motivated, as she is a friend and supporter of Sen. McCain. Her replacement, Dennis Burke, a politically connected Democrat, would go on to be the main fall guy in the Fast and Furious firearm scandal, reports the Phoenix New Times.
Past is prologue, however, and we're wishing Judge Diane Humetewa a long and distinguished career on the bench.
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