Navajo Nation Supreme Court Justices


The Honorable JoAnn Jayne was confirmed Chief Justice on January 24, 2018.

Chief Justice Jayne is Tábąąhá, born for Kinyaa’áanii. She was born in Shiprock, N.M., and grew up in Tohatchi, N.M. She has a bachelor of science degree in agricultural industry from Arizona State University, a master of science degree in watershed management from University of Arizona and a juris doctor degree from the University of Montana School of Law.

Jayne served four consecutive terms in the Montana State House of Representatives where she served on the Appropriations Committee. She was also elected a state Justice Court judge in Lake County, Montana and has served as a judge in Blackfeet Tribal Court, Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribal Court, and the Crow Tribal Court.

Photo Credit: Kathie Curley

The Honorable Eleanor Shirley has been serving as an Associate Justice since July 2008. She was confirmed as a permanent Associate Justice of the Supreme Court on October 19, 2011.

Justice Shirley is from the Nazlini community.  She is Táchii’nii (Red Running Into Water Clan) born for the Ma’iideeshgiizhnii (Coyote Pass – Jemez Clan). Her maternal grandfather’s clan is Tábaahi (Water Edge Clan) and her paternal grandfather’s clan is Tódich’iinii (Bitter Water Clan). 

Justice Shirley was confirmed as a District Court Judge on October 23, 2006 and served as a District Court Judge at the Crownpoint Judicial District before becoming Associate Justice.

Prior to her confirmation, Justice Shirley’s legal career began in 1977 as a Tribal Court Advocate at Chinle DNA – People’s Legal Services Corporation, Chinle, Arizona.  Since then, she has worked with the Navajo people in various capacities with the Navajo Nation government as a Juvenile Presenting Officer at the Window Rock Prosecutor’s Office, as a Tribal Court Advocate at the Navajo Nation Department of Justice, and as a Legislative Advisor with the Navajo Nation Legislative Branch. She was also a local school board member for the Nazlini BIA School and Chapter Secretary-Treasurer for the Nazlini Chapter.

Justice Shirley holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science and is a member of the Navajo Nation Bar Association.

 

Before the Supreme Court was created in 1985 through the Judicial Reform Act, there were Chief Justices of the Court of Appeals.

Chief Justices of the Court of Appeals Years Served  
Tillman Hadley 1955-1961  
Murray Lincoln 1960-1969  
Virgil L. Kirk, Sr. 1970-1978  
Marie Neswood 1979  
Nelson J. McCabe 1979-1985  
     

After the Judicial Reform Act was passed in 1985, the Supreme Court was created as the court of final appeal. The following have served as the Chief Justice and Associate Justices of the Supreme Court.

Chief Justices of the Supreme Court

Years Served

 

Tom Tso

Homer Bluehouse (Acting)

Robert Yazzie

Claudeen Bates Arthur

Lorene B. Ferguson (Acting)

Herb Yazzie

Allen Sloan (Acting)

Thomas J. Holgate (Acting)

JoAnn Jayne

1985-1991

1991-1992

1992-2003

2003-2004

2004-2005

2005-2015

2015-2017

2017-2018

2018-Present

 

     
Associate Justices of the Supreme Court Years Served  

Raymond D. Austin

Homer Bluehouse

Wayne Cadman Sr.

Lorene B. Ferguson

Marcella King-Ben

Louise G. Grant

Eleanor Shirley

1985-2001

1985-1992

1994-2000

2001-2007

2001-2003

2008-2010

2008-Present