Senate confirms 1st Native American US judge in Washington

SEATTLE (AP) — The Senate confirmed Seattle attorney Lauren King on Tuesday as the first Native American federal judge in Washington state.

King has served as a pro tem judge for the Northwest Intertribal Court System, which hears cases for two dozen member tribes. She also heads the Native American Law Practice Group at the Foster Garvey law firm.

She is the second of President Joe Biden’s nominees to be confirmed for the U.S. District Court for western Washington, after former Grant County Superior Court Judge David Estudillo.

Democratic Sen. Patty Murray, who recommended King, noted that of about 900 confirmed federal judges across the country, King, a citizen of the Muscogee Nation in Oklahoma, where she was born, is the fourth who is Native American.

“With 29 federally recognized tribes in Washington it’s not just important, but essential that our federal judges understand the unique histories and perspectives of Native peoples and the legal principles that protect and preserve Native American standing under federal law,” Murray said. “This is a perspective that matters—and one that has been missing for far too long.”

King has also served on the Washington State Gambling Commission and taught federal Indian law at Seattle University School of Law.