The CNMI Supreme Court has ruled that a municipality does not have the authority to pass a law allowing gambling.
In the high court's opinion released today, Wednesday, the justices answered in the negative to a certified question whether a local law, enacted to Article II, Section 6 of the CNMI Constitution by a senatorial district of the legislature, a Commonwealth law under Article XXI of the NMI Constitution.
The justices found that a local law cannot set aside the ban on gambling found in the CNMI Constitution.
The justices explained that under the CNMI Constitution, the gambling prohibition may be set aside either through the initiative process or by the Commonwealth Legislature's passage of a law allowing a particular gambling activity.
Reps. Joseph M. Palacios (R-Saipan) and Ray N. Yumul (R-Saipan) filed last January before the CNMI Supreme Court the certified question whether or not a local law enacted by the Saipan Northern Island Legislative Delegation is considered a Commonwealth law.
Palacios and Yumul brought the certified question after Superior Court associate judge David A. Wiseman last Jan. 19 dismissed for lack of standing Palacios' lawsuit against Gov. Benigno R. Fitial over the governor's veto of the controversial Saipan casino bill.