One Justice's big picture

Indian Country Today

Justice Raquel Montoya-Lewis joins us on Wednesday's show to talk about re-election to the state Supreme court. Also on the show, Julian Brave NoiseCat talks the U.S.' relation to the Paris climate accord.

Washington state Justice Raquel Montoya-Lewis is back for another term on the state Supreme Court. The Isleta Pueblo judge joins us to talk about winning her retention election.

Plus, Policy & Strategy with Data for Progress Vice President Julian Brave NoiseCat is on the show to talk about how the election ties into climate change.

Some quote's from Wednesday's show

Raquel Montoya-Lewis:

"The job that I have been doing since January is completely different from being a trial judge. I was a tribal judge for 15 years and a trial judge on the state court for four or five. So the last 10 months has really taught me how to think about the big picture and not just think about the individual stories of the people in front of me. And that's been really interesting and really challenging to focus on what the direction of the law should be."

"Well, when I was first approached about making that move, I didn't really see there being a path. And I was pretty reluctant to make the change because I loved working in Indian Country and I still miss it every day. I think there are extraordinary people serving in tribal courts and I think it takes both people being willing to try it and for some that means running an election, which is a real challenge. For others, where there's some kind of an appointment process. It really does take a group of people, including whoever does the appointment, especially if it's the governor of the state to have some willingness to recognize that there can be real talent that doesn't come from the sort of standard big law firm or a prosecutor's office or defense attorney's office approach, which is what I think everyone expects. So I'd have to be willing to put yourself out there and tell your story in a way that shows that you are also an excellent candidate for consideration."

"It's very different because we, at least in the state of Washington, and this is true throughout most of the country, can't speak to the issues. So when someone says, well, what do you think about, you know, the voting rights? What do you think about a right to choose? What do you think about privacy issues? Because these issues may come in front of us and we have to make those decisions."

Julian Brave Noisecat:

"You know, I thought that the Democratic party, which obviously can draw a very favorable distinction with Republicans on the issue of climate change. President Trump of course, has described climate change as a quote-unquote hoax invented by the Chinese. So for that reason, I thought that Democrats may have wanted to talk about climate and clean energy issues a little bit more. But they didn't really all that much. I think that there were a few choice moments where former vice president Biden made a strong pitch based on climate change. But other than that, it didn't feature in a significant way to selection."

"Well, so I think that the concerning thing about exiting the Paris Climate agreement is that it signals that the United States is not going to take the kinds of actions domestically or internationally to curb its emissions and to fight climate change. And you know, the fact of the matter is that until this year, the growth of emissions in the United States had gone up year after year. And you know, if we're going to have any chance of adapting to and mitigating warming, we're going to need to reign in those emissions. Exiting the Paris agreement and four more years at the same sort of policies are going to put us even deeper in the hole."

"I think that folks were hoping that this might be the first election where voters were really making decisions based upon concern about climate change. I don't think that that happened at the scale that people were hoping, and it wasn't really showing up as much in the survey data that I've seen. But nonetheless, I think that in places where you see Democrats winning elections or holding government, places like New York state, California, and elsewhere there will likely be sort of a push to get climate action across the finish line. Even absent significant federal action, that will be important."

"So you know, it's a mixed day of news in terms of our readiness to tackle the climate crisis. But that doesn't mean that there won't be policy happening at various levels of government."

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Patty Talahongva, Hopi, is executive producer of Indian Country Today. She is also the anchor of the weekday newscast. Follow her on Twitter: @WiteSpider.

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