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H.R. 2400 (108th): To amend the Organic Act of Guam for the purposes of clarifying the local judicial structure of Guam.


The text of the bill below is as of Sep 13, 2004 (Passed the House).


HR 2400 EH

108th CONGRESS

2d Session

H. R. 2400


AN ACT

To amend the Organic Act of Guam for the purposes of clarifying the local judicial structure of Guam.

    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. JUDICIAL STRUCTURE OF GUAM.

    (a) JUDICIAL AUTHORITY; COURTS- Section 22(a) of the Organic Act of Guam (48 U.S.C. 1424(a)) is amended to read as follows:

    ‘(a)(1) The judicial authority of Guam shall be vested in a court established by Congress designated as the ‘District Court of Guam’, and a judicial branch of Guam which branch shall constitute a unified judicial system and include an appellate court designated as the ‘Supreme Court of Guam’, a trial court designated as the ‘Superior Court of Guam’, and such other lower local courts as may have been or shall hereafter be established by the laws of Guam.

    ‘(2) The Supreme Court of Guam may, by rules of such court, create divisions of the Superior Court of Guam and other local courts of Guam.

    ‘(3) The courts of record for Guam shall be the District Court of Guam, the Supreme Court of Guam, the Superior Court of Guam (except the Traffic and Small Claims divisions of the Superior Court of Guam) and any other local courts or divisions of local courts that the Supreme Court of Guam shall designate.’.

    (b) JURISDICTION AND POWERS OF LOCAL COURTS- Section 22A of the Organic Act of Guam (48 U.S.C. 1424-1) is amended to read as follows:

    ‘SEC. 22A. (a) The Supreme Court of Guam shall be the highest court of the judicial branch of Guam (excluding the District Court of Guam) and shall--

      ‘(1) have original jurisdiction over proceedings necessary to protect its appellate jurisdiction and supervisory authority and such other original jurisdiction as the laws of Guam may provide;

      ‘(2) have jurisdiction to hear appeals over any cause in Guam decided by the Superior Court of Guam or other courts established under the laws of Guam;

      ‘(3) have jurisdiction to issue all orders and writs in aid of its appellate, supervisory, and original jurisdiction, including those orders necessary for the supervision of the judicial branch of Guam;

      ‘(4) have supervisory jurisdiction over the Superior Court of Guam and all other courts of the judicial branch of Guam;

      ‘(5) hear and determine appeals by a panel of three of the justices of the Supreme Court of Guam and a concurrence of two such justices shall be necessary to a decision of the Supreme Court of Guam on the merits of an appeal;

      ‘(6) make and promulgate rules governing the administration of the judiciary and the practice and procedure in the courts of the judicial branch of Guam, including procedures for the determination of an appeal en banc; and

      ‘(7) govern attorney and judicial ethics and the practice of law in Guam, including admission to practice law and the conduct and discipline of persons admitted to practice law.

    ‘(b) The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Guam--

      ‘(1) shall preside over the Supreme Court unless disqualified or unable to act;

      ‘(2) shall be the administrative head of, and have general supervisory power over, all departments, divisions, and other instrumentalities of the judicial branch of Guam; and

      ‘(3) may issue such administrative orders on behalf of the Supreme Court of Guam as necessary for the efficient administration of the judicial branch of Guam.

    ‘(c) The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Guam, or a justice sitting in place of such Chief Justice, may make any appropriate order with respect to--

      ‘(1) an appeal prior to the hearing and determination of that appeal on the merits; or

      ‘(2) dismissal of an appeal for lack of jurisdiction or failure to take or prosecute the appeal in accordance with applicable laws or rules of procedure.

    ‘(d) Except as granted to the Supreme Court of Guam or otherwise provided by this Act or any other Act of Congress, the Superior Court of Guam and all other local courts established by the laws of Guam shall have such original and appellate jurisdiction over all causes in Guam as the laws of Guam provide, except that such jurisdiction shall be subject to the exclusive or concurrent jurisdiction conferred on the District Court of Guam under section 22 of this Act.

    ‘(e) The qualifications and duties of the justices and judges of the Supreme Court of Guam, the Superior Court of Guam, and all other local courts established by the laws of Guam shall be governed by the laws of Guam and the rules of such courts.’.

    (c) TECHNICAL AMENDMENTS- (1) Section 22C(a) of the Organic Act of Guam (48 U.S.C. 1424-3(a)) is amended by inserting ‘which is known as the Supreme Court of Guam,’ after ‘appellate court authorized by section 22A(a) of this Act,’.

    (2) Section 22C(d) of the Organic Act of Guam (48 U.S.C. 1424-3(d)) is amended--

      (A) by inserting ‘, which is known as the Supreme Court of Guam,’ after ‘appellate court provided for in section 22A(a) of this Act’; and

      (B) by striking ‘taken to the appellate court’ and inserting ‘taken to such appellate court’.

SEC. 2. APPEALS TO UNITED STATES SUPREME COURT.

    Section 22B of the Organic Act of Guam (48 U.S.C. 1424-2) is amended by striking ‘: Provided, That’ and all that follows through the end and inserting a period.

Passed the House of Representatives September 13, 2004.

Attest:

Clerk.