Ruling denies Navajo leader’s bid for 3rd term

Window Rock, Arizona (AP) July 2010

A hearing officer on the Navajo Nation has ruled against tribal president Joe Shirley Jr. in his attempt to seek a third consecutive term in office.

Election officials cited a tribal law that says Navajo presidents are limited to two consecutive terms in disqualifying Shirley from the race.

Shirley appealed to the tribe’s Office of Hearings and Appeals, saying the move violated his liberty interests and equal protection rights. He argued that Navajos have the right to choose their leaders under traditional tribal law.

Hearing officer Keith Smith said in a ruling that the term limit is not unreasonable and ensures that no individual becomes entrenched in the tribal presidency.

Shirley is expected to appeal to the tribe’s Supreme Court.