Navajo lawmakers to review judicial appointment

Window Rock, Arizona (AP) July 2011

A Navajo Nation Council committee has repealed a resolution to deny permanent appointment to a tribal Supreme Court justice.

Lawmakers on the former council had deemed Associate Justice Eleanor Shirley’s performance unsatisfactory and voted last October to remove her from office.

But Shirley remained in her position after former Navajo President Joe Shirley Jr. refused to sign off on the action.

The council’s Law and Order Committee now can reconsider Eleanor Shirley’s appointment. It’s unclear whether the committee will rely on previous evaluations or conduct a new hearing.

All Navajo judges and justices are on probation for two years. The committee then makes a recommendation to the tribal president for permanent status or a release from duties.

Another associate justice retired last year, leaving the three-judge panel short one member.