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Obama nominates ASU law professor to serve on US District Court

Diane Humetewa
September 20, 2013

2 ASU law alums also nominated

President Barack Obama has nominated eight legal experts, including three who hail from Arizona State University, to serve on the United States District Courts.

Among the nominees for the United States District Court for the District of Arizona are ASU professor Diane Humetewa, of the Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law, along with Judge Douglas L. Rayes and John Joseph Tuchi – both law alums.

"These men and women have had distinguished legal careers and I am honored to ask them to continue their work as judges on the federal bench,” said President Obama. “They will serve the American people with integrity and an unwavering commitment to justice."

Douglas Sylvester, dean of the College of Law, praised the choices.

“As a public law school dedicated to furthering the public good of Arizona and the nation, we are extremely gratified that three of our graduates have been nominated by President Obama,” Sylvester said. “Their lifelong dedication to public service will serve as an example for our students and we are so proud to be able to call them alumni of the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law.

“We are particularly pleased that President Obama nominated one of our most distinguished Native American alumni. It seems particularly fitting in this, the 25th year of our preeminent Indian Legal Program, that one of its graduates could be the first Native American woman to serve on the federal judiciary. As a school named after the country’s first female Supreme Court Justice, the honor is even more appropriate.”

Professor Humetewa currently serves as Special Advisor to the President for American Indian Affairs – a post she was appointed to in 2011 – and Special Counsel in the Office of General Counsel at ASU. 

She is a member of the Hopi Indian Tribe and, from 2002 to 2007, was an Appellate Court Judge for the Hopi Tribe Appellate Court. 

From 2009 to 2011, Humetewa was Of Counsel with Squire, Sanders & Dempsey LLP. She worked in the United States Attorney’s Office in the District of Arizona from 1996 to 2009, serving as Senior Litigation Counsel from 2001 to 2007 and as the United States Attorney from 2007 to 2009. 

During her tenure in the United States Attorney’s Office, Humetewa also served as Counsel to the Deputy Attorney General from 1996 to 1998. From 1993 to 1996, she was Deputy Counsel for the United States Senate Committee on Indian Affairs. Humetewa received her J.D. in 1993 from ASU College of Law and her B.S. in 1987 from ASU. 

Judge Rayes has served as a Maricopa County Superior Court Judge since 2000. During his tenure on the bench, Judge Rayes presided over a wide range of cases, including civil, criminal and family law matters. He received his J.D. cum laude in 1978 from ASU College of Law and his B.S.E. summa cum laude in 1975 from ASU. 

Tuchi has been an Assistant United States Attorney in the District of Arizona since 1998. He currently serves as Chief Assistant United States Attorney in the office and has previously served as Interim United States Attorney in 2009, Senior Litigation Counsel and Tribal Liaison from 2009 to 2012, and as Chief of the Criminal Division from 2006 to 2009. Tuchi received his J.D. magna cum laude in 1994 from ASU College of Law, his M.S. in 1989 from the University of Arizona, and his B.S. in 1987 from West Virginia University. 

The five others nominated by Obama include Judge Cynthia Ann Bashant, Stanley Allen Bastian, Justice Jon David Levy, Judge Steven Paul Logan and Manish S. Shah.