Native Islanders and Voting

Last week, Julian Aguon posted on Facebook exciting news. Agoun is the owner of Blue Ocean Law on the island of Guam. Aguon is famously known for his work throughout the Pacific region and specializes in sovereignty, self-determination, and international law.

 

Guam restricts certain voting issues to native inhabitants. In the case of Davis v. Guam, plaintiff argues that his 14th and 15th amendment rights are violated as a result of race-based law.

On September 18, 2018, Aguon announced that Prof. Erwin Chemerinsky (yes, he wrote our Constitutional Law textbook!) will be joining their legal team. The case will go before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.

 

Similar issues arose in the Northern Mariana Islands (NMI) as well. I am from the island of Saipan, located in the NMI. We also have blood quantum law and restricted voting for native descents. About two years ago, in the case of Davis v. Commonwealth Election Commission, the District Court held that the provision restricting voting to native descents violated the plaintiff’s 14th amendment right.

 

I believe everyone has a right to vote. However, I also believe that certain issues (pertaining to the land of indigenous people) should be restricted to the natives of that particular island. Our land is very scarce (about 12 miles long and 5.5 miles wide). The intention behind the law stems from political and cultural one, rather than a racial one.

 

I look forward to the results of the case next month and I am looking forward to seeing what Blue Ocean’s legal team brings to the table.

 

I have attached the Blue Ocean Law’s post for reference.41991083_726096197739781_1314667456123371520_n

Carmen Villagomez Borja is Chamorro from the island of Saipan, located in the Northern Mariana Islands. Carmen is a 2L and is expected to graduate in 2020. Carmen completed her undergraduate degree from the University of Washington, Seattle. She loves seafood, island music, and Korean dramas!

carm bio

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