Guam to file for extension in Davis Supreme Court appeal

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Atty. Mike Phillips says he'll seek a 60-day extension to allow him time to appeal the 9th Circuit's decision striking down the Guam law authorizing a non-binding plebiscite on Guam's political status. (PNC file photo)

The lead attorney for GovGuam’s appeal of the controversial Dave Davis case says he will file a request for an extension with the U.S. Supreme Court by the end of this week.

Atty. Mike Phillips says he’ll seek a 60-day extension to allow him time to appeal the 9th Circuit’s decision striking down the Guam law authorizing a non-binding plebiscite on Guam’s political status.

Governor Lou Leon Guerrero announced her decision to appeal the controversial case in a special address released Monday night, just a few days before the appeal deadline.

“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,” the governor said.

Last July, the U.S. 9th circuit court of appeals struck down the Guam law authorizing a non-binding plebiscite on Guam’s political status.

The appeals court upheld Guam District Court Judge Frances Tydingco-Gatewood’s decision which concluded that the Guam plebiscite law is unconstitutional because it is race-based and in violation of the 15th amendment.

The governor said she reached her decision to appeal that conclusion despite advice from the Office of the Guam Attorney General that an appeal may place other Guam laws at risk.

“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,” the governor said.

In 2011, former Guam resident Dave Davis tried to register for the plebiscite on Guam’s political status but he was denied because he did not qualify as a native inhabitant of Guam. He filed suit.

Contacted by phone in Arizona today, Davis said: “I believe it is extremely doubtful that the U.S. Supreme Court will entertain the appeal.”

Guam Congressman Micheal San Nicolas also weighed in, issuing a statement that reads in part: “We will not build a strong future for our island for everyone if it is predicated on excluding anyone. If the government has the resources to go to court, it would be better spent holding a political status vote that includes everyone. It is decades overdue.”

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