Skip to main content

Berman, Clinton appointed to Hopi Tribal Court of Appeals

October 05, 2009

Dean Paul Schiff Berman and Professor Robert Clinton of the Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law at Arizona State University recently were appointed to the Hopi Tribal Court of Appeals.

The appointment was announced in a letter from Gloria Kindig, Chief Judge for the Hopi Tribal Court.

"I want to personally thank each of you for being willing to help us out and serve on the Hopi Court of Appeals," Kindig wrote.

Berman says he is excited about the opportunity.

"Our Indian Legal Program is one of the very best in the country, and we are committed to working with tribes on legal issues," Berman says. "I could think of no better way to symbolize and deepen that commitment than to volunteer to serve as a tribal court judge. I am extremely excited about the opportunity to learn more about the Hopi legal system and to contribute as best I can."

Rebecca Tsosie, executive director of the Indian Legal Program, stresses the importance of the appointment.

"Tribal courts play a vital role in the articulation of tribal sovereignty because they are the only institutional structure to set forth the role of tribal law and delineate the relationship of tribal law to federal law within the complex array of jurisdictional issues that confront modern tribal governments," Tsosie says. "The Indian Legal Program has had a longstanding commitment to serve tribal court systems and, therefore, we are honored that the Hopi Tribe has selected professor Robert Clinton and Dean Paul Schiff Berman for service on the Hopi Tribal Court of Appeals. Together with Chief Appellate Judge Anna Atencio, these distinguished jurists will bring a collective wisdom and experience to the Hopi Tribe's judicial system."

Berman earned his bachelor's degree, summa cum laude, from Princeton University in 1988 and his juris doctorate in 1995 from New York University School of Law, where he served as managing editor of the NYU Law Review. He has served as law clerk to then Chief Judge Harry T. Edwards, of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, and for Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, of the United States Supreme Court. His scholarship focuses on the intersection of international law, conflict of laws, cyberspace law, and the cultural analysis of law. Before becoming dean at ASU, Berman was the Jesse Root Professor of Law at the University of Connecticut School of Law.

Clinton earned a bachelor's degree in political science at the University of Michigan in 1968, and his juris doctorate at the University of Chicago Law School in 1971. He worked in private practice in Chicago, taught on the faculty at the University of Iowa College of Law, then moved to ASU, where he is a Foundation Professor of Law and an affiliated faculty member of the ASU American Indian Studies Program. He also serves as Chief Justice of the Winnebago Supreme Court, as Associate Justice of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribal Court of Appeals, as Associate Justice for the Colorado River Indian Tribes Court of Appeals and the Hualapai Nation Court of Appeals, and as a temporary judge for other tribes. He teaches and writes about federal Indian law, tribal law, Native American history, constitutional law, federal courts, civil procedure and copyrights. He is the co-author of casebooks on Indian law and federal courts, The Handbook of Federal Indian Law, Colonial and American Indian Treaties.

Judy Nichols,
(480) 727-7895
Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law