Reapportionment Commission seeks reinstatement of 13 senators in court appeal
With 33 days left to general election, number of Senators may change
By: L.N. Reklai
(Koror, Palau) The 2016 Reapportionment Commission filed an appeal on September 23, 2016, asking the Court to reverse the Trial Court’s decision and reinstate the 2016 Reapportionment Plan calling for thirteen (13) Senators to be elected in one (1) district by popular vote. [restrict]
Commission asserted that Trial Court erred in its decision by giving more “weight” or “substantial deference” to a dicta (or judge’s opinion) instead of basing its decision purely on the language of the Article IX Section 4(a) of Palau Constitution and in doing so nullified the “express constitutional requirement that plan be based on population.”
Appeal filing states that the Trial Court conducted thorough analysis of the language of Article IX Section 4 (a) of the Constitution and found that that “legislative history and practical considerations “were in favor of the Appellants (Reapportionment Commission) but the Trial Court chose to give more consideration to opinions of the judges in the case of Tellames vs Cong. Reapportionment Commission.
Furthermore the Commission asserts the Trial Court erred when it stated that the 2016 Reapportionment Plan requires an “arbitrary change” in the number of Districts and/or Senators in order to comply with Article IX, Section 4(a) of the Constitution.
According to the Commission’s appeal, the Constitution’s only stated factor for consideration of reapportionment is population.
Appellees in this case did not challenge the population as basis of the plan, only that it is still the same as the previous reapportionment plan.
Commission’s appeal asserts that consideration of previous plans is not mandated by Constitution as a factor for determining the reapportionment of the Senate.
Asserting other factors such as consideration of other reapportionment plans nullify the Constitutional requirement that the Appellant’s Plan be based on population and the Commission appeals that Appellate Division reversed the Trial Court’s decision and reinstate 2016 Reapportionment Plan which calls for 13 senators and 1 district. [/restrict]