NNABA Commends Confirmation of Derrick Watson

For Immediate Release, April 22, 2013
Contact: Mary L. Smith (202) 236-0339


Fourth Native Hawaiian in U.S. History to be Federal Judge

Phoenix, AZ. — The National Native American Bar Association (NNABA) commends the confirmation of Derrick Kahala Watson to the U.S. District Court for the District of Hawaii. Watson becomes the only person of Native Hawaiian descent to currently serve in the federal judiciary and only the fourth Native Hawaiian in U.S. history.

“NNABA is thrilled by the historic confirmation of Derrick Kahala Watson to the federal judiciary,” said Mary L. Smith, President of NNABA. “We are heartened that in addition to Mr. Watson’s eminent qualifications, the federal bench will be furthered diversified as the result of Mr. Watson’s ascension to the court. We applaud President Obama for nominating Mr. Watson and the U.S. Senate for its 94-0 vote to confirm him.” NNABA hopes that this nomination signals that a Native American will soon be appointed to the federal bench.

Mr. Watson recently served as chief for the Civil Division in the U.S. Attorney’s Office for he District of Hawaii. He attended the Kamehameha Schools and graduated from Harvard Law School.

Founded in 1973, NNABA serves as the national association for American Indian, Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian attorneys, judges, law professors and law students.  NNABA strives for justice and effective legal representation for all American indigenous peoples; fosters the development of Native American lawyers and judges; and addresses social, cultural and legal issues affecting American Indians, Alaska Natives, and Native Hawaiians.

NNABA has launched an “Increase Natives and Tribal Court Judges in the Judiciary” initiative.

For more information contact 480-727-0420 or visit www.nativeamericanbar.org.