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Lauren King is a citizen of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation and chairs Foster Garvey P.C.’s Native American Law Practice Group

Senator Murray: “Ms. King is a citizen of the Muscogee Nation—and she would be the first ever Native American federal judge in the history of my home state of Washington…This is a perspective that matters—and one that has been missing for far too long. Today we’re one step closer to building a federal bench that reflects the diversity of the people it serves.”

*** Video of Senator Murray’s floor speech in support of Lauren King is HERE and photos of Senator Murray and Lauren King are HERE***

(Washington, D.C.) – Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) hailed the Senate’s confirmation of Lauren King, a pro tem judge for the Northwest Intertribal Court System, by a vote of 55-44. Lauren King was nominated by President Joe Biden for a lifetime appointment as a U.S. District Court Judge for the Western District of Washington to serve from the Seattle courthouse at the recommendation of Senator Murray. Senator Murray recommended Ms. King to the Biden-Harris administration in early 2021 after her name was submitted to the Senator for consideration by Murray’s judicial merit selection committee, which was recently highlighted as a national model for its success in recruiting a diverse and highly qualified range of candidates for the federal bench by the House Judiciary Committee.

Senator Murray spoke on the Senate floor in support of Ms. King earlier today, video of her full remarks can be found HERE.

“Not only is Lauren King an immensely talented and experienced practitioner of the law, but her confirmation is a historic one,” said Senator Murray. “Ms. King is a citizen of the Muscogee Nation—and she would be the first ever Native American federal judge in the history of my home state of Washington. 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. This is a perspective that matters—and one that has been missing for far too long. Today we’re one step closer to building a federal bench that reflects the diversity of the people it serves.”

Lauren King chairs Foster Garvey P.C.’s Native American Law Practice Group and has served as a pro tem appellate judge for the Northwest Intertribal Court System since 2013. Ms. King is also an appointed Commissioner on the Washington State Gambling Commission. She previously taught Federal Indian Law at the Seattle University School of Law. Prior to joining Foster Garvey, King was an associate at Byrnes Keller Cromwell LLP from 2010 to 2012 and at K&L Gates from 2008 to 2009. Ms. King is a citizen of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation, which is located in Oklahoma where she was born, and received her undergraduate degree from the University of Washington in 2004 before going on to graduate from the University of Virginia School of Law in 2008. Since then, Ms. King has been a judge for eight years for the Northwest Intertribal Court System, which adjudicates cases for its 24 member tribes. In that role, she has heard appeals in various tribal courts on diverse subject matters, ranging from child welfare cases and landlord-tenant disputes to procedural issues. If confirmed, King will be only the fourth Native American federal judge in the country and the first Native American federal judge in Washington state history.

King’s nomination is supported by the Washington Leadership Institute, National Native American Bar Association, Midwest Alliance of Sovereign Tribes/Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa, Native American Rights Fund, National Congress of American Indians (NCAI), Northwest Indian Bar Association, Federal Bar Association Indian Law Section, Northwest Tribal Court Judges Association, Seattle Indian Health Board, Sault Tribe Law Enforcement, Great Plains Tribal Chairmans Association, Mechoopda Indian Tribe of Chico Rancheria, Ewiiaapaayp Band of Kumeyaay Indians, United South and Eastern Tribes (USET), Nez Perce Tribe, Washington State Gambling Commission, Muckleshoot Tribe, Suquamish Tribe, Spokane Tribe, Association on American Indian Affairs, and Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians (ATNI).

Read more about Lauren King’s nomination HERE.

See Senator Murray’s remarks as prepared for delivery below.

“Thank you M. President.

“I rise today in support of the nomination of Lauren King to serve as U.S. District Court judge for the Western District of Washington in the Seattle courthouse.

“Ms. King is an immensely talented and experienced practitioner of the law, who I had the honor of recommending to the President for this position, and I am proud to be advocating for her confirmation here today.

“Ms. King currently chairs Foster Garvey’s Native American Law Practice Group, and has served as a pro tem appellate judge for the Northwest Intertribal Court System since 2013.

“She has served as a Commissioner on the Washington State Gambling Commission, and taught Federal Indian Law at Seattle University School of Law.

“Her qualifications are exemplary and Ms. King’s confirmation would also be a historic one.

“She is a citizen of the Muscogee Nation—and she would be the first ever Native American federal judge in the history of my home state of Washington. 

“Out of the 890 currently confirmed federal judges, only three are Native American. Ms. King would become the fourth—and she would be the sixth ever Native American judge in United States history.

“While this number is still too low, Ms. King’s confirmation would be an important step towards ensuring the members of federal judiciary reflect the diversity of our nation, and have critical experience and insight into the unique relationship between our federal government and Native Tribes.

“This is especially important in Washington state—which for those who don’t know—is home to 29 federally recognized Indian tribes.

“So it is 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.

“I believe that this is a perspective that matters—and one that has been missing for far too long.

“With her experience in the Northwest Intertribal Court system and representing Tribes in private practice, Ms. King has a deep understanding of these principles and the legal issues that Tribes in Washington state face.

“And she has the support of major Native voices in this space. She has been strongly endorsed by the National Native American Bar Association, the National Congress of American Indians, the Native American Rights Fund, and more.

“She has earned this support by being a sharp legal mind and a fair and just arbiter of the law.

“I firmly believe Ms. King has the experience, knowledge, and perspective required to serve on our federal judiciary with distinction.

“I urge my colleagues to join me in supporting her nomination.

“We can confirm highly qualified judges and we can make sure our federal bench reflects the diversity of the people it serves.

“And before I close—I want to acknowledge the two historic U.S. Attorneys for Washington state who were confirmed last week.

“Nick Brown of Seattle is the first Black U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Washington and Vanessa Waldref of Spokane is the first female U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Washington.

“I know both of these historic appointees have the experience needed to be successful, and I am confident that they will work diligently to pursue justice for the people of my home state.

“Thank you.”

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