President Obama Nominates Prof. Valencia-Weber to Legal Services Board

August 1, 2009

Prof. Barbara Creel

President Obama has announced his intention to nominate Professor Gloria Valencia-Weber to the Board of Directors of the Legal Services Corporation.

The corporation was established by Congress in 1974 and is the single largest provider of civil legal aid for the poor in the nation. It distributes more than 95 percent of its total funding to 137 independent nonprofit legal aid programs with 918 offices that provide legal assistance to low-income individuals and families in every congressional district.

"I am grateful that such distinguished and capable individuals have chosen to serve in my administration at this crucial moment in our nation’s history," said Obama in nominating Valencia-Weber along with a broader group to federal boards. "As we work to strengthen our nation at home and abroad, I am confident that they will be valuable additions to my administration and I look forward to working with them in the months and years ahead."

The announcement released by the White House included the following about Valencia-Weber: "Gloria Valencia-Weber has a strong record of enabling poor people to obtain necessary legal services, especially for American Indians/Native Americans. The lawyers (American Indian and non-Indian) that she trains serve public interests, including the 20 Legal Services Corporation units that specialize in Indian law.

"In establishing the Indian Law Certificate programs, first at the University of Tulsa College of Law in 1990 and since 1992 at the UNM School of Law, she is a pioneer. The model curriculum she designed is anchored in the unique law of the political relationship between the 562 federally recognized tribes and the U.S. In 1991-92 Valencia-Weber served on the Board of the Oklahoma Indian Legal Services. She regularly instructs in continuing education for Indian law attorneys and for tribal government officials and tribal court judges. Moreover, her scholarly research in Indian law covers critical areas including tribal courts, domestic violence, and the constitutional interface of tribal, federal and state authority. Among her honors is induction into the American Law Institute.

"Valencia-Weber graduated from Harvard Law School in 1986 where she was comments editor for the Harvard Civil Rights-Civil Liberties Law Review and a C. Clyde Ferguson International Human Rights Fellow. Then she clerked for Judge Lee R. West, Federal District Court for the Western District of Oklahoma, and Judge William J. Holloway, Jr., then chief judge of the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals.