fbpx
 

President Joe Biden has announced 9 new federal judicial nominees, one of whom is a citizen of Navajo Nation.

Judge Sunshine Suzanne Sykes would be the first Native American Article III judge in California, the first Article III judge from the Navajo Nation, and the fifth Native American Article III judge actively serving in the United States. She is nominated for the United States District Court for the Central District of California.  

Want more Native News? Get the free daily newsletter today.

Judge Sykes has served as a California Superior Court Judge on the Superior Court of Riverside County since 2013. She currently presides over a civil litigation department and is the presiding judge of the appellate division. 

Judge Sykes received her J.D. from Stanford Law School in 2001 and her B.A from Stanford University in 1997. From 2001 to 2003, she was a staff attorney for California Indian Legal Services. From 2003 to 2005, Judge Sykes worked as a contract attorney for the Juvenile Defense Panel at the Southwest Justice Center. From 2005 to 2013, she served as a Deputy County Counsel in the Office of County Counsel for Riverside County, handling litigation on behalf of government entities and serving as a juvenile dependency trial attorney representing the California Department of Public Social Services on matters concerning abused and neglected children. 

The National Congress of American Indians, based in Washington, D.C., was quick to praise President Biden's choice of Sykes. 

“NCAI strongly supports President Biden’s nomination of Sunshine Suzanne Sykes, a citizen of the Navajo Nation and descendant of the Coyote Pass-Jemez Clan, to be the first-ever Native American judge to sit on the federal bench in the state of California,” National Congress of American Indians President Fawn Sharp said. “As the third Native woman in history to be nominated as a federal judge, Judge Sykes will bring unparalleled experience in law and policy to our justice system. NCAI urges the swift confirmation of Judge Sykes as the nomination moves before the U.S. Senate.”

The Native American Rights Fund (NARF) agreed. 

NARF's  Executive Director John Echohawk reacted to Wednesday’s news by saying, “Judge Sykes possesses excellent qualifications to be a federal judge. She has extensive judicial experience and a strong record of public service. We applaud her nomination and urge her confirmation. She will be a strong addition to the federal judiciary in California.”

NARF and NCAI have long advocated for increasing Native representation in the federal court system. It is imperative to have federal judges who understand the unique relationship between the United States and tribal nations and who reflect a more diverse swath of the districts that they serve.

More Stories Like This

Native News Weekly (January 23, 2022): D.C. Briefs
NCAI's 2022 Executive Council Winter Session to be Virtual Again This Year
US Supreme Court Will Not Consider Overturning McGirt Decision; Will Rule on Scope of the Landmark Ruling
Former Gov. Bill Richardson Promotes High-tech Jobs at Navajo Technical University; Donates 200 pairs of Nike Shoes to Crownpoint Students
Navajo Nation to Utilize Drones to Deliver Critical Supplies to Community

The truth about Indian Boarding Schools

This month, we’re asking our readers to help us raise $10,000 to fund our year-long journalism initiative called “The Indian Boarding School Project: A Dark Chapter in History.”  Our mission is to shine a light on the dark era of forced assimilation of native American children by the U.S. government and churches.  You’ll be able to read stories each week and join us for Livestream events to understand what the Indian Boarding School era has meant to Native Americans — and what it still means today.

This news will be provided free for everyone to read, but it is not free to produce. That’s why we’re asking you to make a donation this month to help support our efforts.  Any contribution of any amount — big or small — gives us a better, stronger future and allows us to remain a force for change. Donate to Native News Online today and support independent Indigenous journalism. Thank you. 

About The Author
Native News Online Staff
Author: Native News Online StaffEmail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.