Atlantic magazine says Native Americans need not apply for federal judgeships

Andrew Cohen writes in this month’s Atlantic that only two Native Americans have ever been confirmed by the Senate for a job on the federal bench in our nation’s history.

He mentions this fact in light of the United States Senate congratulating itself on confirming by an 80-13 vote the judicial nomination of J. Paul Oetken, who is gay.

Cohen writes that now that the Senate has overcome one longstanding prejudice it should focus on another.

He states that only two Native Americans have ever been confirmed as federal judges and only one of them was “openly” Native American [pun intended I guess]. He states that those “numbers are particularly appalling when you consider that (only) 170 or so black judges have been appointed over the same span.”

Cohen analyzes the pending Obama nomination of Arvo Mikkanen, who is an American Indian. Mikkanen went to Dartmouth and Yale Law School, clerked for two federal judges, and has been a federal prosector for nearly two decades. He also received a “unanimously qualified” rating from the American Bar Association to be a federal judge.

Yet the Mikkanen nomination languishes, six months after the President nominated him, and some of Oklahoma’s congressional delegation denounced Mikkanen as “unacceptable” but has never explained why.

Read more.

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