Wednesday, July 17, 2024

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Efforts underway to remove Herb Yazzie as chief justice


Navajo Nation Supreme Court Justice Herb Yazzie. (Times file photo.)

Although the presidential election seems to be on track, the fallout from the dispute between the Navajo Nation Supreme Court and the Council continues.

On Tuesday, Council Delegate Leonard Tsosie (Littlewater/Pueblo Pintado/ Torreon/Whitehorse Lake/Baca/Brewitt/Casamero Lake/Ojo Encino/Counselor) put a bill into the system to have Herb Yazzie removed as chief justice.

The resolution doesn’t call for his removal because of the court’s opinions on the special election, but it does cite the court’s ruling that removed members of the Navajo Board of Election Supervisors for failure to follow court orders to take Chris Deschene off the ballot because of his failure to comply with Navajo fluency requirements.

Tsosie’s resolution supports a campaign that has been underway during the past couple of months to get chapter and agency council support to remove Yazzie from the court.

That effort has apparently struck a cord as more than 50 of the tribe’s 110 chapters have passed resolutions, usually by a large majority, to oust Yazzie or to call for an investigation of the council’s Law and Order Committee.

Navajo Nation Council Delegate Leonard Tsosie. (Times file photo.)

Navajo Nation Council Delegate Leonard Tsosie. (Times file photo.)

The Huerfano Chapter, for example, voted 28-0 on March 6 to ask for an investigation because of the court’s “unjust and unfair rulings against the Navajo people’s votes that were cast in the primary and general election.”

The chapter positions have been supported by the agency councils as well.

The Fort Defiance Agency Council voted 32-0-5 to remove Yazzie while the Northern Navajo Agency Council passed a similar resolution by a vote of 35-2-13.

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About The Author

Bill Donovan

Bill Donovan wrote about Navajo Nation government and its people since 1971. He joined Navajo Times in 1976, and retired from full-time reporting in 2018 to move to Torrance, Calif., to be near his kids. He continued to write for the Times until his passing in August 2022.


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