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Chris Deschene appeals disqualification ruling to the Navajo Nation Supreme Court

Noel Lyn Smith The Daily Times
The Daily Times

WINDOW ROCK, ARIZ. — An appeal has been filed with the Navajo Nation Supreme Court on behalf of Chris Deschene who is trying to keep his campaign for president alive.

Deschene is appealing the Oct. 9 ruling from the Navajo Office of Hearings and Appeals that disqualified him as a candidate but his name remains on the general election ballot.

The appeal was submitted to the Supreme Court office at 4:32 p.m. on Monday.

Deschene shared the news about the appeal in a statement posted on his campaign's Facebook page.

"Today, we remain on the ballot. Vote now. Your voice must be heard while we continue to defend out fundamental right to choose our own leader," Deschene said in the statement.

The appeal refers to supporting documentation, which was not attached and efforts to reach Deschene's attorney, Brian Lewis, were unsuccessful.

As of Tuesday afternoon, the court had not made a decision on the appeal, said Judicial Branch spokeswoman Karen Francis.

The court also has not issued a decision on the petition for a writ of mandamus filed last week by former presidential candidates Dale E. Tsosie and Hank Whitethorne.

Tsosie and Whitethorne first filed grievances about the Aug. 26 primary election with the Office of Hearings and Appeals, requesting Deschene be disqualified because he did not speak the Navajo language fluently, which is a requirement of the presidency.

The complaints were dismissed by the Office of Hearings and Appeals based on technicalities and Tsosie and Whitethorne appealed to the Supreme Court, which held a hearing on Sept. 26 in Tuba City, Ariz.

The Supreme Court remanded the case to the Office of Hearings and Appeals and ordered the office to hold a hearing to determine Deschene's Navajo language fluency.

During the hearing, Deschene declined to answer questions asked of him in Navajo, which led the Office of Hearings and Appeals to enter a default judgment disqualifying him.

Noel Lyn Smith covers the Navajo Nation for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4636 and

nsmith@daily-times.com

. Follow her on Twitter

@nsmithdt

on Twitter.