Navajo panel deems justice’s work unsatisfactory

Window Rock, Arizona (AP) October 2010

A Navajo Nation Council committee has voted against permanently seating a tribal Supreme Court justice.

The Judiciary Committee narrowly decided last week that probationary Justice Eleanor Shirley’s work has been unsatisfactory.

Chairman Kee Allen Begay says Shirley depended too much on Chief Justice Herb Yazzie and faulted her for not issuing dissenting opinions.

Yazzie says the justices strive to reach a consensus on cases.

Committee member Leonard Tsosie (SO’-see) says testimony did not support the vote.

The committee now must pass a resolution to remove Shirley from the bench.

If last week's vote stands, the tribe’s three-member high court would be left with one justice. Louise Grant retired last week.