Lauren King – Nominee to the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington

Native Americans are among the most under-represented groups on the federal judiciary, with only two judges serving in active status. President Biden has now nominated a third, Seattle attorney Lauren King.


Born in 1982, King received a B.A. from the University of Washington in 2004 and a J.D. from the University of Virginia Law School in 2008.

After graduating, King worked as an associate at K&L Gates for a year and then at Byrnes Keller Cromwel for two years before joining the Seattle office of Foster Garvey P.C. where she currently serves as a Principal.

History of the Seat

King has been nominated for the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington. This seat opened on January 27, 2016, when Judge Robert Lasnik moved to senior status. On April 6, 2016, the Obama Administration nominated Judge Beth Andrus to fill the vacancy, but her nomination was never confirmed by the Republican Senate.

On July 13, 2018, the Trump Administration announced their intention to nominate federal prosecutor Tessa Gorman to the Western District. However, due to a dispute with Washington’s U.S. Senators over the Ninth Circuit nomination of Eric Miller, the Trump Administration chose not to proceed with Gorman’s nomination. President Biden nominated King on May 12, 2021.

Legal Experience

King, a citizen of the Muscogee Nation, has focused her career on Native American law, frequently representing Native American tribes in lawsuits seeking to protect their interests. Most notably, King represented the Quileute tribe in a suit seeking to protect the fishing boundaries designated for the tribe under the 1855 Treaty of Olympia. See Greg Geudel, Lauren King: “Rising Star” Defender of Tribal Rights, Native American Legal Update, May 6, 2016. King was able to get a favorable ruling on the suit from Judge Ricardo Martinez on the Western District of Washington. The decision was subsequently appealed and partially affirmed by a panel of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. See Makah Indian Tribe v. Quileute Indian Tribe, 873 F.3d 1 (9th Cir. 2017).

King has also made a name for herself in litigating related Indian law cases before the Ninth Circuit, including a subproceeding involving the Muckleshoot Indian Tribe. Muckleshoot Indian Tribe v. Tulalip Tribes, 944 F.3d 11 (9th Cir. 2019). She also represented the Muscogee Creek Nation in a suit regarding the use of a tract of land in Wetumpka, Alabama. Muscogee (Creek) Nation v. Poarch Band of Creek Indians, Civil Action No. 2:12cv1079-MHT, 2021 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 47953 (M.D. Ala. Mar. 15, 2021).

Overall Assessment

Given the focus on her experience on Indian law, King is an unusual choice for a federal judicial appointment, and her selection shows a willingness by the Biden Administration to pick unconventional nominees. While King may draw some opposition for her youth, she is nonetheless favored to join the bench and may even be poised for elevation to the Ninth Circuit if a Washington seat was to open.


  1. Another history making pick by President Biden with the Native American community being under represented on the federal bench. With her being in her late 30’s, she’s definitely set up for a future appointment to the 9th circuit should the opportunity present itself.


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  3. This is how the Biden administration is destroying the judiciary in America. This woman has no experience as a judge, yet people are already saying that she should be appointed to the Ninth Circuit just because she is part Native! That’s not justice, that’s politics. Lauren King is not qualified to be a federal judge, it’s just that simple. Her ethnicity has nothing to do with her qualification or lack thereof.


  4. Your logic is flawed. You seem to be saying that because non-judges have been appointed in the past, that ANY non-judge is qualified to be appointed to the federal bench. It’s clear that the sole reason that Judge King was nominated is because of her ethnicity. You all claim that the appointment is justified because Natives are traditionally “underrepresented”. What about the disabled? The last time that the Biden admin appointed a disabled person to correct the disparities against the disabled population was NEVER! You are hypocrites. Judge King is in way over her head, and the entire system suffers when under-qualified people are appointed.


    • No I am not suggesting any non judge is qualified to be a circuit court judge. I am nearly staring the fact that Trump nominated numerous previously non judges to the circuit courts since you made it seem as though Biden doing so is all of a something a bad thing.

      Now as for judge King herself, she has a depth of experience prior to becoming a judge. She was an associate at two law firms, served as a pro tem appellate judge for the Northwest Intertribal Court System, was a commissioner on the Washington State Gambling Commission & taught Federal Indian Law at the Seattle University School of Law.

      So I’m not sure where you are getting your information that judge King was only nominated because of her ethnicity. She has plenty of legal experience. He adding diversity as a Native American only adds to why she was a good choice.


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