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Pres. Begaye Calls on Senate to Fill Vacant Supreme Court Seat

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Navajo Nation President Russell Begaye is calling on the U-S Senate to quickly fill the open seat on the U-S Supreme Court. He says further delays to consider President Obama’s nominee, Merrick Garland, would harm American Indian tribes. Arizona Public Radio’s Ryan Heinsius reports.

The Supreme Court is considering cases that involve tribal sovereignty and the jurisdiction of tribal courts in its current term. Begaye says if the Supreme Court remains as it is with eight members, possible split decisions could undermine tribal law by creating uncertainty in those cases.

Begaye is also calling for any Supreme Court nominee to be well-versed in tribal law to ensure fair treatment of Native Americans before the court.

Many top Senate Republicans, however, say they won’t consider any Obama nominee to fill the seat of the late Justice Antonin Scalia, and that it should be the duty of the next president.

Ryan Heinsius joined the KNAU newsroom as executive producer in 2013 and was named news director and managing editor in 2024. As a reporter, he has covered a broad range of stories from local, state and tribal politics to education, economy, energy and public lands issues, and frequently interviews internationally known and regional musicians. Ryan is an Edward R. Murrow Award winner and a Public Media Journalists Association Award winner, and a frequent contributor to NPR's Morning Edition, All Things Considered and national newscast.
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