Guam – Christian Adams of the Election Law Center in Washington D.C. has filed a motion in Guam’s District Court opposing the dismissal of Dave Davis’ class action suit which makes a civil rights challenge to the law authorizing a plebiscite on Guam’s political status.
Davis’ class action suit was filed on November 22. It charges that Davis and others have been discriminated against because they were denied the right to register for the non-binding plebiscite on Guam’s political status.
The class action suit asks the Federal Court to stop the Election Commission from using the Decolonization Registry and rely solely on the general voter registry for Guam in determining who is eligible to vote in the plebiscite.
On December 2ed, Guam Attorney General Lenny Rapadas asking the Federal Court to dismiss the lawsuit because it fails to to present a “justiciable case or controversy.” It would not be binding on the island’s population.
Rapadas argued that the law mandating the plebiscite only seeks to establish the desires of the “Native Inhabitants of Guam.” The results he said would be transmitted to the President, Congress and the United Nations and what they do with it is “an entirely separate matter.”
READ Attorney General Rapadas’ Motion for Dismissal
Adam’s responds that Rapadas is arguing that “racial discrimination in voting is permissible given the purported meaningless character of the plebiscite.” He counters that “a case or controversy exists whenever the government denies a citizen the right to register to vote, or when a voter is barred from participating in an election run by a government.”
Last Friday University of Guam Professor and Historian Anne Perez Hattori filed an amicus curiae brief in the District Court of Guam in support of Rapadas’ motion to dismiss. Her attorney Julian Aguon called Davis’ lawsuit “a wolf in sheep’s clothing,” and she wrote “though deceptively styled as a reverse discrimination case, this lawsuit has nothing to do with preventing race discrimination or safeguarding civil rights.”
The case has been assigned to presiding District Court Judge Francis Tydingco-Gatewood. No date has been set for a hearing on the merits, yet.