AFJ Letter of Support for Sara E. Hill
The Honorable Richard Durbin
Senate Judiciary Committee
Dear Chairman Durbin:
On behalf of the Alliance for Justice (AFJ), a national association representing more than 150 public interest and civil rights organizations, I write to urge you to confirm Sara E. Hill to the United States District Court for the Northern District of Oklahoma, a truly exceptional nominee, as expeditiously as possible.
When confirmed, Hill will be the first Native American woman to serve on a federal court in Oklahoma, a state with a Native American population that is greater by proportion of population than any other save Alaska. Moreover, she will be one of just a few federal judges with deep environmental law expertise. And these are just two of the aspects of this nominee’s background that demonstrate the ways in which her confirmation will promote professional and demographic diversity in the federal judiciary.
A graduate of Northeastern State University and the University of Tulsa College of Law, Hill began her legal career in 2004 working as a prosecutor in the Cherokee Nation District Court litigating criminal and juvenile cases. In addition, Hill represented the Nation in state court child welfare proceedings, handling all aspects of each case, up to and including jury trials and appeals. After working on criminal and juvenile matters for five years, Hill then shifted her focus to environmental, natural resource, and land management issues. Specifically, her work included multi-state environmental litigation, tribal water rights, and matters involving federal laws on historic preservation.
In 2015, Hill was appointed to serve as the Cherokee Nation’s Secretary of Natural Resources. During this time, she focused exclusively on environmental policy and litigation. Among others, she oversaw a case that involved complex issues relating to the decommissioning of a uranium conversion facility. Hill then went on to serve as Attorney General for the Cherokee Nation. In that role, she had constitutional responsibility for all litigation of the government of the Cherokee Nation and its businesses.
Hill has received recognition both nationally and at home in Oklahoma. In 2016, she was awarded the Cherokee National Statesmanship Award, which is given in recognition of those who, as public servants, epitomize the servant leader ideal, exemplifying Cherokee values and acting with respect, dignity and graciousness while working for the betterment of Cherokee Nation and its citizens. Additionally, Hill was awarded the EPA Environmental Excellence Award, and the Keep Oklahoma Beautiful’s Towering Spirit Award respectively. These accolades testify to the extent and significance of Hill’s contributions to the field of law.
Given her remarkable qualifications, we urge your office to ensure the Senate confirms Sara E. Hill to the United States District Court for the Northern District of Oklahoma as soon as possible. She will represent and inspire the people of Oklahoma whom she has served so admirably, and her confirmation will affirm our nation’s highest aspirations for what it means to be an officer of the court and pursue public service in law.
President, Alliance for Justice