WINDOW ROCK, Ariz. — The chief appellate judge for the Crow Nation has been confirmed as chief justice of the Navajo Nation’s highest court.
JoAnn “Joey” Jayne’s appointment to the position in July had been subject to approval by the Navajo Nation Council.
Tribal lawmakers voted in favor Wednesday, and Jayne immediately was sworn in.
The Navajo woman is the first chief justice hired under a change that requires a law degree for the job. She joins Associate Justice Eleanor Shirley on the bench. The third position on the Navajo Nation Supreme Court is vacant.
Jayne will be in probationary status for two years. Tribal lawmakers then would decide whether to give her a lifetime appointment.
The tribe hasn’t had a permanent chief justice since Herb Yazzie retired in 2015 after a decade on the bench.