US court strikes down Guam plebiscite for ‘native inhabitants’
HAGÅTÑA, 09 MARCH 2017 (MARIANAS VARIETY) — District Court Chief Judge Frances Tydingco-Gatewood on Wednesday ruled that a plebiscite on Guam that restricts voting to “native inhabitants” violates the U.S. Constitution. [restrict]
The judge said: “The U.S. Constitution does not permit the government to exclude otherwise qualified voters from participating in an election where public issues are decided simply because those otherwise qualified voters do not have the correct ancestry or bloodline. Having found that the classification is racial, this court finds that the plebiscite statute impermissibly imposes race-based restrictions on the voting rights of non-native inhabitants of Guam, in violation of the Fifteenth Amendment.”
This decision was announced following recent discussions that Guam should soon vote on its political status, whether to vote for independence, statehood or free association with the United States.
The federal judge also permanently barred the government of Guam and its officers, employees, agents, and political subdivisions from enforcing the political status plebiscite under Guam law, as it specifically limits the voting to “native inhabitants of Guam.”
GovGuam and its officials are likewise barred from implementing “any laws and regulations designed to enforce the plebiscite law, insofar as such enforcement would prevent or hinder [the] plaintiff and other qualified voters who are not native inhabitants of Guam from registering for, and voting in, the political status plebiscite.”
The suit was filed by an Air Force veteran, Arnold “Dave” Davis, who has lived on Guam for decades, against the Guam Election Commission and its board members…..PACNEWS [/restrict]