Wednesday, February 05, 2014

Hale bill would allocate $7.5 million to build a Navajo Nation Supreme Court Complex

Hale bill would allocate $7.5 million to build

Navajo Nation Supreme Court Complex


STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX – Rep. Albert Hale, D-St. Michaels (District 7), introduced a bill that would allocate $7.5 million to help build a Supreme Court Complex on the Navajo Nation.

“Currently, the Navajo Nation Supreme Court lacks a home that appropriately reflects our values,” Hale said. “The highest court in a nation should be housed in a complex that inspires confidence and instills trust in the judicial system. At the same time, it must be functional. The plans for the new Supreme Court Complex accomplish all of this.”

Hale’s bill, HB2559, would direct money from Arizona’s general fund to the state’s Department of Economic Security and then distributed to the Navajo Nation specifically for the construction of the new court complex.

“The Navajo Nation has long desired and needed facilities for the administration of justice that would express the respect for law and the dignity and integrity of the Navajo justice system. The Judicial Branch appreciates and fully supports the efforts of Rep. Hale in seeking funding for the construction of these facilities,” Navajo Nation Chief Justice Herb Yazzie said.  “The proposed facilities have already been designed, and all that is left is to obtain construction funding. We thank Rep. Hale for his efforts to demonstrate the collaboration between two sovereigns to meet the needs of the people.”

The entire construction project is expected to cost about $15 million. The Navajo Nation is expected to contribute the other $7.5 million to complete the project.

“For too long, our Supreme Court has been operating out of substandard facilities, and the people working for the Supreme Court have been making the best of this situation. The design plans for the new complex show that the buildings will incorporate Navajo teachings and promote peacemaking sessions. It will be a point of pride.

“The state of Arizona should be and must be a part of the Navajo Nation’s enhancement of an impartial judiciary. The Supreme Court plays a critical and essential role in resolving disputes for all who come before it. This includes non-Indians and non-Indian owned businesses from off the Navajo Nation,” Hale said.

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Rep. Hale is an enrolled member of the Navajo Nation. He was born in Ganado and raised in Klagetoh, Arizona. He is Ashiihi (Salt), born for Todichiini (Bitter Water). His maternal grandparents are Hanaghani (Walk About clan). His paternal grandparents are Kiyanii (Tall House clan). He is a 1969 graduate of Fort Wingate High School, a Bureau of Indian Affairs boarding school located east of Gallup, New Mexico. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Arizona State University, Tempe, Arizona (1973), and a Juris Doctor degree from the University of New Mexico School of Law, Albuquerque, New Mexico (1977), and an honorary Juris Doctor degree from Phoenix School of Law (2012).  He is the former President of the Navajo Nation.

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