Monday, July 26, 2010

Ninth Circuit Seats: In Play and Possibly Historic is running an article today about possible candidates for two open Ninth Circuit seats, one in Alaska and the other in either California or Idaho.  The ambiguity on the latter seat comes because, according to Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), "'the seat [was] vacated by Judge Stephen Trott, a Californian who made a personal decision to set up his judicial chambers in Idaho.'"  Feinstein and the Idaho senators all want a nominee from their state.  While the article notes the conflict and identifies a leading candidate from California, law professor Christopher Cameron of Southwestern Law School, it does not name one from Idaho.

I wonder if Larry EchoHawk may on the Idaho short list.  EchoHawk has already been nominated by President Obama and confirmed by the Senate to his current post: Assistant Secretary-Indian Affairs in the U.S. Department of the Interior.  Previously, EchoHawk served as Idaho Attorney General (the first American Indian to do so), in the Idaho House, and as an Idaho county prosecutor.  He "would, if picked, become the only American Indian currently in the federal judiciary and the first ever to serve on an appellate court."  Interestingly, the quote in the prior sentence, from the article, refers to a top candidate for the Alaska seat, Heather Kendall-Miller, a lawyer for the Native American Rights Fund ("NARF") and, like EchoHawk, an American Indian.  The two are also connected because Kendall-Miller works with EchoHawk's brother, John, NARF's Executive Director.  Perhaps one or both of the Ninth Circuit nominations will be historic?

Disclosure: Larry EchoHawk was one of the author's law school professors.