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And I want to take this opportunity to commend our colleague, Mr. Underwood, for this legislation, for the separation of the branches of government is a cornerstone of our democracy, and I trust that the whole Committee will support his bill and in doing so protect the rights of the people of Guam.
If my colleague would like some of my time, I would yield the rest of my time to Mr. Underwood.
Mr. UNDERWOOD. Thank you for yielding me the time. And basically, I just wanted to go over a couple of points that had been mentioned earlier, and I wanted to make sure for the record that it is clearly understood. Reference is made to the authority granted to the people of Guam to draft their own constitution. In doing so, Congress specified that there would be a republican form of government with three co-equal branches. So this is not even if Guam were to draft its own constitution, I daresay that its constitution would end up looking like-would have the kind of judiciary that we are envisioning here, which is three co-equal branches of government.
Second, you have mentioned, Judge Lamorena, I think on several occasions that there was a grant of authority granted by Congress to create this appellate court, and at the same time, you have made comparisons to the creation of the attorney general. I know you have credited Congressman Won Pat repeatedly for the earlier version.
Judge LAMORENA. For the attorney general, I will credit you for that one.
Mr. UNDERWOOD. Thank you, thank you very much. I am glad you acknowledge that that was my legislation.
Mr. UNDERWOOD. But more importantly, in vetting that legislation, even though we allowed that to happen, to allow that according to whether the Legislature wanted to have an elected attorney general or not, we did structure it in a way to avoid the kinds of problems that we are simply having in this issue, which is to kind of clearly delineate what it would look like and had this kind of maybe the Virgin Islands is smarter in this, because they are waiting to see what kind of experiences we have had on this.
But just so that I allow Mr. Kearney a chance to make a quick comment, Mr. Kearney, in your testimony, you stated that Guam has a bifurcated local court system at a time when virtually all of the states have unified court systems and by implication saying that, well, Guam is a little bit different than the rest. Can you elaborate on that a little bit?
Mr. KEARNEY. Well, mostly, it focuses on what we have been discussing here, that there is a potential role for the Legislature with respect to the judicial system in Guam currently that is not reflected in the other 50 states. And so, to the extent to which changes in this legislation would be consistent with those 50 states, it would address that inconsistency.
Mr. UNDERWOOD. OK; so this legislation addresses that inconsistency, and the administration has no objection to the legislation. Mr. KEARNEY. That is correct.
Mr. UNDERWOOD. OK; and I would submit, Mr. Chairman, that some of the amendments that the Justice has proposed here deal, I think, with the issue of some of the underlying issues here regarding the actual structure and some of the politicization of this process and attempts to divorce that in an effort to make sure that what we are honing in clearly here is the separate and co-equal nature of the three branches of Guam. So I hope we will get a chance to look at those in a markup 1 day.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
The CHAIRMAN. I thank the gentleman.
Mr. FLAKE. Mr. Chairman? Just 10 seconds?
The CHAIRMAN. The gentleman from Arizona.
Mr. FLAKE. I just wanted to state for the record that I, too, thank Mr. Underwood for bringing this bill forward, and I hope that the Committee has a chance to mark it up.
The CHAIRMAN. We would be happy to.
And also, I would like to submit some questions to the panel. I would appreciate your response, because we are not going to have time to go into those. I do want to thank all of the people who testified. We appreciate your attendance here at this time, and we will move ahead with this legislation, and Ben, it is always good to see you, my friend. Ben Blaz was one of the true gentlemen of Congress and one we will always remember.
So with that, we stand adjourned.
[Whereupon, at 12:32 p.m., the Committee adjourned.]
[The following information was submitted for the record:]
• Ada, Hon. Joseph F., Senator, 26th Guam Legislature, Letter submitted for the record on H.R. 521
• Ada, Hon. Thomas C., Senator, 26th Guam Legislature, Statement submitted for the record on H.R. 521
• Aguon, Hon. Frank Blas, Jr., Senator, 26th Guam Legislature, Letter submitted for the record on H.R. 521
• Arriola, Joaquin C., President, Guam Bar Association, Letter submitted for the record on H.R. 521
• Bernhardt, David L., Director, Office of Congressional and Legislative Affairs and Counselor to the Secretary, U.S. Department of the Interior, Letter submitted for the record on H.R. 521
• Blair, William J., et al., Law Offices of Klemm, Blair, Sterling & Johnson, Letter submitted for the record on H.R. 521
• Bordallo, Hon. Madeleine Z., Lieutenant Governor of Guam, Statement submitted for the record on H.R. 521
Brooks, Terrence M., et al., Brooks Lynch & Tydingco LLP,
Camacho, Hon. Felix P., Senator, 26th Guam Legislature,
• Charfauros, Hon. Mark C., Senator, 26th Guam Legislature, Letter submitted for the record on H.R. 521
• Cruz, Hon. Benjamin J.F., Honorable Chief Justice of Guam (Retired), Letter submitted for the record on H.R. 521
Cunliffe, F. Randall, and Jeffrey A. Cook, Cunliffe & Cook,
• Forbes, Hon. Mark, Majority Leader, 26th Guam Legislature, Statement submitted for the record on H.R. 521
• Forman, Seth, Keogh & Forman, Letter submitted for the record on H.R. 521
• Gray, Gerald E., Law Offices of Gerald E. Gray, Letter submitted for the record on H.R. 521
• Guerrero, Hon. Lou Leon, Senator, 26th Guam Legislature, Letter submitted for the record on H.R. 521
• Gutierrez, Hon. Carl T.C., Governor of Guam, Statement submitted for the record on H.R. 521
• Hale, Elizabeth, Affidavit submitted for the record on H.R. 791 • Lannen, Thomas J., Dooley Lannen Roberts & Fowler LLP, Memorandum submitted for the record on H.R. 521
• Leonard, Floyd E., Chief, Miami Tribe of Oklahoma, Statement submitted for the record on H.R. 791
• Lujan, Hon. Pilar C., Former Senator, Guam Legislature, Statement submitted for the record on H.R. 521
• Maher, John B., McKeown, Vernier, Price & Maher, Letter submitted for the record on H.R. 521
• Manibusan, Judge Joaquin V.E. Jr., on behalf of the majority of Superior Court of Guam Judges, Statement submitted for the record on H.R. 521
• McCaleb, Neal A., Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs, U.S. Department of the Interior, Letter submitted for the record on H.R. 791
• McDonald, Joseph B., Legal Counsel, Citibank N.A. Guam, Letter submitted for the record on H.R. 521
• Pangelinan, Vicente C., Minority Leader, 26th Guam Legislature, Statement submitted for the record on H.R. 521 • Roberts, Thomas L., Dooley Lannen Roberts & Fowler LLP, Letter submitted for the record on H.R. 521
• Ryan, Hon. James E., Attorney General, State of Illinois, Letter submitted for the record on H.R. 791
• San Agustin, Hon. Joe T., Former Speaker of the Guam Legislature, Statement submitted for the record on H.R. 521
• Santos, Marcelene C., President, University of Guam, Letter submitted for the record on H.R. 521
• Siguenza, Peter C., Jr., et al., Chief Justice, Supreme Court of Guam, Letter and supporting documents submitted for the record
⚫ Troutman, Charles H., Compiler of Laws, Office of the Attorney General, Department of Law, Territory of Guam, Letter submitted for the record on H.R. 521
• Unpingco, Hon. Antonio R., Speaker,, 26th Guam Legislature, Letter submitted for the record on H.R. 521
• Wagner, Annice M., President, Conference of Chief Justices, Letter and Resolution submitted for the record on H.R. 521 Warnsing, Mark R., Deputy Counsel to the Governor, State of Illinois, Letters submitted for the record on H.R. 791
• Won Pat, Hon. Judith T., Senator, 26th Guam Legislature, Statement submitted for the record on H.R. 521
[A letter from The Hon. Joseph F. Ada, Senator, 26th Guam Legislature, submitted for the record on H.R. 521 follows:]
As the Chairman of the Guam Legislature's Committee on Power, Public Safety and the
The United States Congress rightfully granted Guam's lawmakers the authority to create
Like Guam's executive and legislative branches, Gusm's Judiciary should be subject to
l'assage of 11.K. 521 would render as moot the existence of the Judicial Council of Guam
Testimony of Hon. Joseph F. Ada on H.R. 521 page 2 of 3
Guam's Judicial Council exists with equal representation of both the Guam Supreme Court and the Superior Court. It is modeled after the Federal Court system's Federal Judicial Councils that have ably served the U.S. Supreme Court, Appellate and District Courts for the past two hundred and twenty four (224) years. The Guam Judicial Council does not remove the Supreme Court from being the head of Guam's Judiciary any more than the existence of the U.S. Federal Judicial Council removes the U.S. Supreme Court from being the head of the U.S. Judiciary.
It is our belief that H.R. 521 would not only undermine and repeal existing Guam law, but it would implement important decisions and policies for Guam and our judicial system that should be left to the people of Guam and our elected local lawinakers.
One main concern with H.R. 521 is that its passage would do much more than grant the Supreme Court of Guam administrative control over the courts of our island. Should H.R. 521 pass, it will repeal a variety of existing Guam law. Guam currently has a system much like that found in California. We have a Judicial Council made up of judges and justices, as well as the attorney general of Guam and the chairperson of the Guanı Legislature's committee on the judiciary. The purpose and function of the Judicial Council is to handle administration of the courts, with local law carefully and specifically delineating the powers, dutics and responsibilitics of the council.
To exemplify this fact, there are currently contained in the Guam Code Annotated the same number of specific statutes that address the powers and duties of the Judicial Council as statutes delineating the duties and powers of the Supreme Court of Guam.
Pursuant to various Guam statutes set forth in the Guam Code Annotated, the Judicial Council is the body which is attached to the Judicial Branch for purposes of administration; responsible for administering the unified pay schedule for the judiciary; for adopting personnel rules for the judicial branch; for addressing employee grievances and appcals; for promulgating its own rules for conduct and operation; for recommending policies to the court and the legislature regarding the administration of the judicial system; for overseeing the judicial building fund.
This recitation is made simply to convey just a portion of the specific laws that will be repealed if H.R. 521 is passed. It is evident that the Judicial Council was the administrative body intended to, and empowered to, administer Guam's judicial system.
Currently the Supreme Court has formed a Unified Judiciary Committee and participates as members of the Judicial Council. However, only the Judicial Council is statutorily enacted. With one stroke of a pen the Guam Supreme Court Justices could abolish the Unified Judiciary Committee, removing any form of representation from the trial courts,