Governor Lou Leon Guerrero has decided to appeal the controversial Dave Davis case to the U.S. Supreme Court, just a few days before the appeal deadline for the case lapses.
Last July, the United States 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled against Guam and affirmed U.S. District Court Chief Judge Frances Tydingco-Gatewood’s injunction against the holding of a political status plebiscite for Guam.
The case came about in 2011 as former Guam resident Arnold “Dave” Davis tried to register for the Decolonization Registry so he could vote on a future status plebiscite regarding Guam’s relationship to the United States.
Since the July decision, the governor has wrestled with a decision on whether to appeal the case to the highest court of the nation.
Late last night, the governor announced that she has decided to appeal. In a special address released by Adelup, the governor explained the reasoning behind her decision:
“Let me be clear: we value everyone that has made Guam home, but a plebiscite is meant to remedy a historical injustice—and that remedy belongs to the native inhabitants of Guam.
“While this has always been my personal belief, I must also weigh it against the careful, thorough legal advice of our Attorney General and Special Assistant AGs. They believe that there is potential for significant risk associated with an appeal to the current U.S. Supreme Court.
“These potential risks include the Court going beyond the narrow holding of the Ninth Circuit and invalidating our plebiscite under the Fourteenth Amendment, which could put a host of other programs, including the Chamorro Land Trust, at risk.
“Today, however, just a few days before our deadline to appeal, I have been asked by other attorneys to not forsake our right to appeal. These legal experts believe Guam must appeal regardless of the Court’s composition or the risks it may invite. They believe history must be served by making our case at the U.S. Supreme Court.
While I appreciate the risks involved, I cannot deny our people the right of an appeal so long as others may be willing to champion it.”
According to the governor, she will ask the Attorney General to appoint Attorneys Mike Phillips and Senator Therese Terlaje to lead Guam’s Davis case appeal in the U.S. Supreme Court.
“I recognize that time is short; that we only have days before an appeal must be filed. But if anyone can fight and win for Guam, it is the attorneys who secured a legal victory that enabled the CLTC, and who believe in an appeal,” the governor said.
She added: “Guided by our faith in the future of Guam’s People, I am confident that these proven champions of justice will prevail for our people again.”