University Of Tulsa Law School Honors First Native American Woman Confirmed As Federal Judge In Oklahoma

Sara Hill will help handle the influx in cases that have come from the Supreme Court ruling on tribal jurisdiction.

Friday, January 19th 2024, 10:12 pm



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The University of Tulsa Law School honors Sara Hill, who just became the first Native American woman to be appointed a federal judge in Oklahoma.

Hill will help handle the influx in cases that have come from the Supreme Court ruling on tribal jurisdiction.

Hill says she knows it’s a busy road ahead with that increase in federal cases, but she’s excited to get to work.

The University of Tulsa law school held a reception for Hill, who is now a federal judge.

Hill is a graduate of the TU law school.

"I'm just an Oklahoma kid, went to Oklahoma public schools,” said Hill. “I don't know that I ever really thought that someday I would be a district judge for a federal court. But every step of the way, I've had lots of people that I've learned from. I've been very fortunate."

Before now, Hill was the Attorney General of the Cherokee Nation.

She believes her experience working in tribal law will help her as she handles federal cases.

"I knew that work would have to be done by someone and saw a place potentially for myself to do some of that work,” said Hill. “To me, it's just another way of doing what I've been doing for a long time, which is trying to serve the community."

Oren Griffin, the Dean of the University of Tulsa College of Law, hopes other students will see Hill’s accomplishments and know they can accomplish great things.

"It also sends a message to youngsters,” said Griffin. “Whatever their background, whatever community that they may come from, what's possible. You can rise to the highest heights and achieve wonderful things in your career."

Hill knows there’s a lot to learn, but she’s ready to take on the challenges that come with her new position.

"I hope that everyone feels like that there's a pathway to the federal bench for young lawyers, no matter where you might come from or what your different situation might be like,” said Hill. “There's no doors that are closed to you. If this is something that you want, every American should be able to serve their country."

Tulsa attorney John Russell was also appointed as a federal judge in Oklahoma at the same time.

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