A lawyer under serious consideration for the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals would, if picked, become the only American Indian currently in the federal judiciary and the first ever to serve on an appellate court, according to sources familiar with the search process.

Heather Kendall-Miller, a staff attorney for the Native American Rights Fund, is in the running to succeed Judge Andrew Kleinfeld for an Alaska-based seat. But Kendall-Miller has some competition from Alaska Supreme Court Justice Morgan Christen, part of a complicated 9th Circuit puzzle the White House is trying to assemble.

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