SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KTXL) — California will soon have its first Native American federal judge after the Senate confirmed Sunshine Suzanne Sykes’s nomination in a narrow vote.
The Senate confirmed Sykes in a 51-45 vote on Thursday.
Sykes is a member of the Navajo Nation, and she is one of five active Article III Native American federal judges in the United States. Born in Arizona, Sykes graduated from Stanford University in 1997 and then got her law degree from Stanford Law School in 2001.
Before her nomination by President Joe Biden in December, she was a Riverside Superior Court Judge for about nine years. Between 2005 and 2013, Sykes served as deputy county counsel in Riverside County.
She also worked as a law clerk and as a staff attorney with California Indian Legal Services.
According to the press release, Sykes will still have her chambers in Riverside and will reside over the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California.