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Senate confirms first Native American woman federal judge

PHOENIX -- A former U.S. Attorney from Arizona will be the first Native American woman to serve on the federal bench.

Diane Humetewa easily won confirmation Wednesday in the U.S. Senate in a 96-0 vote.

She will fill one of six vacancies in the federal District Court of Arizona.

Humetewa currently serves as special counsel at Arizona State University, where she is also a professor.

She served as U.S. Attorney for Arizona between 2007 and 2009.

She also was an appellate court judge for the Hopi Tribe.

The National Congress of American Indians praised the confirmation, saying Humetewa has dedicated her time to serving the interests of Native peoples.

The overburdened District Court of Arizona remains one of the busiest in the country, having declared a judicial emergency in 2011.

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