Senate confirms nominee with Indian law experience to court

The Senate voted 56 to 38 on Tuesday to confirm Patricia Ann Millett for a seat on the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals.

Republicans previously prevented the Senate from voting on Millett. But Democrats changed the rules to limit filibusters on certain judicial nominees.

“I’m pleased that in a bipartisan vote, the Senate has confirmed Patricia Millett to be a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, filling a vacancy that has been open since 2005,” President Barack Obama said in a statement. “Ms. Millett is a leading appellate lawyer who has made 32 arguments before the Supreme Court, the second-most by a female advocate. She has served in the Department of Justice for both Democratic and Republican Presidents. I’m confident she will serve with distinction on the federal bench.”

Millett has extensive experience in Indian law. She recently won a U.S. Supreme Court, decision on behalf of tribal interests in Arizona v. Inter Tribal Council of Arizona, a voting rights case.

The D.C. Circuit has heard a number of high-profile Indian law cases, including the Cobell trust fund lawsuit, the Cherokee Freedmen dispute, the Patchak land-into-trust case and the San Manuel labor law case.

It is often seen as a stepping stone to the Supreme Court — of the nine justices, four served on the D.C. Circuit.