Tobi Young

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch made history Friday in announcing the appointment of a woman believed to be the first Native American to clerk for the nation’s highest court.

Tobi Young, who graduated with high honors in 2003, will serve during the Supreme Court’s 2018-19 term, the Ole Miss Law School said in a press release. Young also is the first female graduate of the law school to clerk for the U.S. Supreme Court, the university said.

The Chickasaw Nation applauded the move in its own press release, with Chickasaw Nation Gov. Bill Anoatubby stating: “It is difficult to overstate the significance of having a well-qualified, experienced Chickasaw such as Ms. Young serving as Supreme Court clerk. Justice Gorsuch is well respected by tribal leaders for his understanding of tribal sovereignty and Indian law. His decision to select a Native American to serve as clerk underscores his appreciation of the importance of the Native perspective on Indian law.”

The National Law Journal reported that Gorsuch ranked relatively high in its review of law clerk diversity, noting that in his brief tenure he has hired three minorities so far, two Asian-Americans and an Hispanic.

Young was an associate White House counsel during the Bush administration and served in the civil rights division of the Justice Department. There, Young said she worked to make sure that “Choctaws in Mississippi were receiving voting instructions in the Choctaw language.”

Here is a link to the Ole Miss press release.

Here is a link to the Chickasaw nation press release.

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