The Leadership Conference Celebrates Sara Hill’s Historic Confirmation

Courts News 12.19.23

Contact: Patrick McNeil, [email protected]

WASHINGTON Lena Zwarensteyn, senior director of the fair courts program at The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, released the following statement after the Senate confirmed Sara Hill to the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Oklahoma:

“Sara Hill’s historic confirmation to the Northern District of Oklahoma is a critically important step toward ensuring that our federal courts truly reflect and represent the rich diversity of our nation. She brings to the bench extensive experience in Indian law, including her service as attorney general for the Cherokee Nation. This deep knowledge of the legal principles and unique political status and rights of tribal nations and Native people is underrepresented — but desperately needed — on the federal bench, as cases involving tribal nations and their interests are heard primarily in federal courts.

“As a citizen of the Cherokee Nation, Ms. Hill’s confirmation also makes her the first Native American woman in Oklahoma to ever serve as a lifetime judge — bringing lived experience to the judiciary that has for far too long been excluded. She is now just the eighth Native American lifetime judge in our nation’s history. We celebrate her confirmation, and we continue to call for more Native nominees and nominees with significant experience in Indian law.”

Following the confirmation of Judges Lydia Griggsby, Lauren King, Sunshine Sykes, and Sara Hill, President Biden has now appointed half of the eight Native American lifetime judges in our nation’s history. When Sara Hill is sworn in, only six will be active judges. On November 29, the Senate also confirmed Judge Shanlyn Park, who is now the first Native Hawaiian woman — and fifth Native Hawaiian person — to ever serve as a lifetime judge.

Read The Leadership Conference’s letter in support of the confirmation of Sara Hill.

In an op-ed published last month in Native News Online, Zwarensteyn and Morgan Saunders, staff attorney at the Native American Rights Fund, underscored the importance of Hill’s nomination and confirmation. The op-ed — “Native Judges Belong on the Federal Bench” — is available here.

The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights is a coalition charged by its diverse membership of more than 240 national organizations to promote and protect the rights of all persons in the United States. The Leadership Conference works toward an America as good as its ideals. For more information on The Leadership Conference and its member organizations, visit