25 Jun 2010

Delegates to American Samoa Constitutional Convention want judicial status quo

3:59 am on 25 June 2010

There has been a unanimous call by delegations to the Constitutional Convention of American Samoa to maintain the current regulation to have the chief justice and associate justice appointed by the Secretary of Interior.

Proposed amendments to the constitution would give the authority to appoint the two top post of the High Court to the governor of the territory.

But a majority of delegates discussing the amendments in the judicial subcommittee disagrees.

One delegate, Magalei Logovi'i, says the current process allows for the Interior Department to pay judges with funds which the territorial government does not have.

Magalei, who is also the government Treasurer, says giving the governor the authority to make the appointments will eliminate the independence of the high court.