Law and Order Committee recommends permanent appointment of Justice Eleanor Shirley

WINDOW ROCK, Ariz. -The Law and Order Committee on July 27 passed legislation recommending the permanent appointment of Eleanor Shirley as an associate justice of the Navajo Nation Supreme Court with a vote of 2 in favor and 1 opposed.

The sponsor - Law and Order Committee Vice Chairman Alton Shepherd - said that Justice Shirley has completed the required training and has received satisfactory performance evaluations during her probation period. He further informed the committee that Justice Shirley meets all qualifications for a justice of the Supreme Court under Navajo Nation law and there is no reason to not recommend her based on the record developed by the public hearing on October 12, 2010.

The legislation states, "Associate Justice Eleanor Shirley meets all qualifications required under Navajo Nation law for Justices of the Navajo Nation Supreme Court."According to 7 N.N.C. § 355 (c), a probationary justice shall not be recommended for permanent appointment unless she has completed a course of training accredited for judges and she has received a satisfactory performance evaluation from the Chief Justice and the oversight committee after the probationary term is completed.

During the presentation, Chief Justice Herb Yazzie said that Justice Shirley has participated in over 900 cases during her probationary term as an associate justice and is knowledgeable in both Western law and Diné traditional law. He added that she has received a "very good-to-outstanding" performance evaluation by the Judicial Review Team.

The legislation will be forwarded to President Ben Shelly to take action on official appointment. Confirmation for the permanent appointment must be approved by the Navajo Nation Council. In the meantime, Justice Shirley will continue to serve on the Supreme Court.

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