13 Apr 2010

American Samoa chief justice doubts senators' motives

3:07 pm on 13 April 2010

American Samoa's Chief Justice, Michael Kruse, claims Senators may be lining up jobs for themselves through a bill which would require associate judges to be confirmed every four years.

At present associate judges are appointed for life.

But a bill approved by the Senate would require reconfirmation of associate judges every four years with only leading matai eligible.

The Chief Justice has raised his concerns with the House Speaker, Savali Talavou, saying the bill will subject the judiciary to legislative influence and will undermine its independence.

Senators are all matai and Mr Kruse suggests that only drawing associate judges from among the matai is setting them up with employment when their political involvement ends.