Interior Announces $653,003 for Judicial Education and Development in U.S.-Affiliated Pacific Island Areas

WASHINGTON – U.S. Interior Assistant Secretary - Insular and International Affairs Doug Domenech has authorized a payment of $653,003 to the Ninth Circuit Judicial Council Pacific Islands Committee to provide and oversee legal training for FY2018 in the judiciaries of the U.S. Territories of American Samoa, Guam, and the Northern Mariana Islands, 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 Assistant Secretary Domenech.  “I am pleased, on behalf of the Secretary and the President to continue to support judicial training and court development services in the Judiciary systems across all the U.S.-affiliated Pacific Islands.”

The Pacific Islands Committee of the Ninth Judicial Circuit was established to fulfill oversight responsibilities with respect to the judiciaries of the U.S. territories of American Samoa, Guam, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, and the former Trust Territories of the Federated States of Micronesia, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, and the Republic of Palau.  All judiciaries in these Pacific Island jurisdictions are modelled after U.S. judicial system and the Pacific Islands Committee is charged with monitoring their judicial development.  Specific responsibilities of the Pacific Islands 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.