24 Mar 2005

American Samoa senators call for federal district court in territory

5:01 pm on 24 March 2005

Four senators have formally called on Congressman Faleomavaega Eni Hunkin to introduce legislation in the US Congress to establish a federal district court in American Samoa with limited jursidicton.

The resolution says prior to and since the Daewoosa, AFLAC, and School Lunch Program cases and execution of federal search warrants, the question of whether federal jurisdiction extends to American Samoa remains an issue.

It says establishing a federal district court in the territory would resolve the issue of federal jurisdiction.

The measure also points out that many cases involving civil rights violations have occurred in American Samoa, but they are not pursued because a federal court does not exist here.

Another argument put forward by the sponsors is that a federal district court would assit the High Court with its caseload, especially during the appeals process and appeals will no longer have to be scheduled once a year or every two years as it has been.

According to the resolution, the District Court will adjudicate all federal cases except for those involving chiefly titles, communal land or Samoan customs and traditions.