30 May 2005

Bill submitted in American Samoa that would establish a federal district court in territory

6:40 am on 30 May 2005

American Samoa's Congressman Faleomavaega Eni Hunkin has submitted a draft of a bill establishing a federal district court in the territory.

Faleomavaega has written to the Governor Togiola, saying the Fono has asked him to develop draft legislation.

The bill sets out the jurisdiction of the federal district court, limiting its authority to that of a district court of the United States -- to the extent that the constitution and laws of the United States apply to American Samoa.

Any such court would have jurisdition over bankruptcy cases.

The court is specifically not allowed to address issues involving communal land tenure or matai titles.

The court would be established on Tutuila but other sessions could be set up at other locations in American Samoa as necessary.