Cherokee lawyers appointed to Comanche Nation Supreme Court
From left to right are Comanche District Court Judge Lisa Otipoby (Comanche), Associate Justice Robert Gifford (Cherokee), Chief Justice Ryland Rivas II (Comanche) and Associate Justice Casey Ross (Cherokee). Gifford and Ross were recently added to the court. COURTESY
LAWTON – Cherokee Nation citizens and lawyers Robert Don Gifford and Casey Ross have been selected by the Comanche Nation to serve on the tribe’s first Supreme Court.
Gifford is also chief judge for the Kaw Nation District Court and the Iowa Tribe of Oklahoma, and is an associate tribal court judge for the Seminole Nation and the Miami Tribe of Oklahoma.
According to a Comanche press release, Gifford began his legal career as a law clerk for the Cherokee Nation under Principal Chief Wilma Mankiller while receiving his law degree from the University of Oklahoma College of Law where he was an editor on the American Indian Law Review.
Gifford is also the founder of Gifford Law in Oklahoma City, where the firm specializes in Native American law, military law and complex criminal and civil litigation in courts nationwide.
The release also states he previously served as an assistant U.S. attorney in the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Oklahoma, where he served as tribal liaison to the tribes of Oklahoma as the human trafficking coordinator and the anti-terrorism coordinator.
In addition, he is a retired colonel from the U.S. Army Reserves and has served as an adjunct law professor at the law schools at the University of Oklahoma, University of Arkansas and Oklahoma City University, where he has taught trial practice, military law and national security law.
According to the release, Ross is the general counsel at Oklahoma City University, the director and clinical professor of law of the American Indian Law & Sovereignty Center, where she teaches American Indian wills clinic, American Indian law, tribal law and oversees the Native American Law Students Association Moot Court.
The release states she has published works in the areas of Indian Child Welfare, domestic violence and taxation in tribal communities. She has also lectured nationally and internationally on Indian law topics, and presents frequently at related events.
In addition, Ross previously served as the senior legislative officer for the Cherokee Nation in its Washington, D.C., office. There she engaged in legislative and policy advocacy for tribal priorities. Ross also serves on the board of directors for Oklahoma Indian Legal Services, a nonprofit organization that provides legal services to low-income American Indian citizens.