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A Republican has prevented the confirmation of Montana’s first Native American federal judge

Steve Daines, R-Mont., arrives as the Senate prepares to advance (Via Austin Black/Shutterstock)

A Republican lawmaker from Montana stopped a Biden administration nominee for a judicial position, who would have been the state’s first Native American federal district court judge, officials said Wednesday.

Attorney Danna Jackson, nominated by President Joe Biden last month, needed Senate approval for the role.

Senator Steve Daines blocked Jackson because the administration didn’t ask for his agreement before nominating her, said Rachel Dumke, a spokesperson for Daines.

“Senator Daines believes confirming federal judges with lifelong appointments is one of his most crucial responsibilities, and these individuals must be trusted not to make laws from the bench,” Dumke said in an email.

A White House spokesperson disagreed with Dumke’s claim, saying Daines’ team had interviewed Jackson last year but the senator declined to meet with her.

President Biden driving a car (Via Austin Black/Shutterstock)

“This alleged lack of consultation appears to be little more than an excuse, and it’s unfortunate that Senator Daines is preventing Montana from benefiting from the skills of a principled, fair, and impartial judge like Danna Jackson,” said Deputy Press Secretary Andrew Bates.

Daines’ opposition was previously reported by Bloomberg Law.

According to the American Bar Association, the vast majority of federal judges are white men.

As of late last year, out of more than 1,400 federal judges, only four were Native American, and two others identified as partially Native, the association said. This amounts to less than 1% of federal judges, whereas Native Americans represent nearly 3% of the U.S. population.

Jackson did not immediately respond to a voice message seeking comment left with the Salish and Kootenai legal department.

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