It is in Justice League of America #146 (1977) that Hawkgirl finally becomes a member of the JLA. This is ten years after she first joined the JLA in an adventure (JLA #53) and in another issue in that same year (1967), she accused the JLA of turning her husband into a pillar of salt. (see below)
Issue #146 is a continuation of a story arc started in the previous issue. Unfortunately, I was not able to obtain a copy of issue #145.
The story revolves around a crisis that the JLA is having with a “thing” called the Construct that has infected machines all over the world. This includes the android Red Tornado.
At first, the group thinks that everything is okay, but that falls apart quickly
Superman interrogates the android attempting to determine if he is in fact who he says he is. The second of the three questions, that he asks involves Hawkgirl.
It involves an incident that occurred ten years earlier where Hawkman was turned into salt. Superman is referring to JLA #72.
Reddy does not answer the third question correctly and Superman declares the android to be a fake.
Hawkman takes this as an opportunity to propose that Hawkgirl be admitted to the team as a full and official member of the JLA.
Superman is opposed to Hawkgirl becoming a member and uses another excuse that Superman mentions in this issue is a rule against duplicating powers. Hawkman argues that his wife should become a member because of the number of times that she saved the JLA. The most recent example is when Hawkgirl saved the JLA from Count Crystal, but there is no reference to when that happened. A google search reveals that the incident occurred in the previous issue (#145).
As Superman insists that it is not going happen, Hawkman threatens to leave the group if his wife is not made a full member of the team.
The Phantom Stranger steps in suggests that they table this discussion and get to the crisis at hand. (The Phantom Stranger is a mysterious individual who became a member of the JLA in Justice League of America #103). They split up in groups to tackle parts of the crisis at hand with Wonder Woman taking the “Hawks” with her.
When Superman says that he will take Ollie (Green Arrow) and Dinah (Black Canary) with him, Black Canary is obvious not on Superman’s side regarding the question of Hawkgirl’s membership and says that she will go with “Diana and Shiera” using the real names of Wonder Woman and Hawkgirl.
At one point, an embarrassed Hawkgirl pulls her husband aside and complains that she would rather that he not press for her membership. In response, Hawkman expresses his undying love for his wife.
Later, Hawkgirl is the only one who recognizes that Red Tornado is who he says he is.
Eventually, Hawkgirl is able to convince the group and she, in effect, saves the day.
Finally, although it is not definitively stated, Hawkgirl becomes a member of the JLA. This is the last panel in the issue where Hawkgirl joins the league.
Now, compare that with a year later (issue #161) when Zatanna becomes a member of the JLA.
Why could they not do something nice like this for Shiera? I’m just saying is all.