WASHINGTON—The Department of the Interior has authorized the release of $653,003 to the Ninth Circuit Judicial Council Pacific Islands Committee to provide and oversee legal training for fiscal year 2018 in the judiciaries of the U.S. territories of American Samoa, Guam, and the CNMI, as well as the freely associated states of Micronesia, Marshall Islands, and Palau.
“The rule of law is fundamental for a strong economy and effective democratic rule in any society,” said U.S. Interior Assistant Secretary – Insular and International Affairs Doug Domenech.
The Pacific Islands Committee of the Ninth Judicial Circuit was established to fulfill oversight responsibilities with respect to the judiciaries of American Samoa, Guam, the CNMI, the Federated States of Micronesia, Marshall Islands, and Palau. All judiciaries in these Pacific Island jurisdictions are modelled after the U.S. judicial system and the Pacific Islands Committee is charged with monitoring their judicial development.
Specific responsibilities of the committee include: 1) assisting in the development and provision of continuing judicial education and court professional training and 2) overall improvement of the administration of justice in the courts.
Support for judiciary systems in the U.S.-affiliated Pacific Islands began as early as 1976 when U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice Warren Burger established a Pacific Territories Committee to develop and work with courts in the U.S.-affiliated Pacific areas, appointing Ninth Circuit Chief Judge Richard Chambers as chair. The Pacific Islands Committee Judiciary Training program continues that work today.
Funding is provided in part through the Technical Assistance Program of the Office of Insular Affairs in the Department of the Interior and through Compact of Free Association funding provided under U.S. Public Law 108-188. (PR)