Navajo president vetoes bill to empower attorney

Window Rock, Arizona (AP) May 2010

Navajo President Joe Shirley Jr. has vetoed legislation that would have furthered empowered the top attorney for the tribe’s legislative branch.

Tribal lawmakers passed a bill last month to give the chief legislative counsel the authority to hire or fire special prosecutors, a duty that historically had been reserved for the tribe’s attorney general.

The measure also subjected a panel of judges that appoints special prosecutors to confirmation by the Tribal Council, which raised concerns that the process could become political.

Shirley says the measure is self-serving, retaliatory and counter to the public interest.

The 88-member Tribal Council can override the veto with 59 votes.