Wednesday, August 08, 2012

The Chamorro People v. Arnold Davis

Not a great day to be Chamorro-anything on Guam lately. Seems like Dave Davis is everywhere in the local legal world. Not only is he challenging the self-determination plebiscite, he's also now mentioned in a probe involving the "constitutionality" of the Chamorro Land Trust.

It's only a matter of time until he starts challenging Chamorro Month and "Chamorro Chip Cookies."

Here are some articles below:

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Davis wants to proceed with trial

But AG wants delay in plebiscite suit

A YIGO man suing the local government in federal court wants his case to proceed to trial despite a magistrate judge’s recommendation for dismissal, but the Attorney General's Office wants a delay until that matter is resolved.

Court documents were filed yesterday in the District Court of Guam by an attorney for Arnold “Dave” Davis in response to the AGO's motion to stay discovery, which requests the court to suspend the trial setting and other dates ordered by the court until the issue of Davis’ objection to a recommendation of a dismissal of his case is determined by the chief judge.

Just last week, the AGO filed the motion to stay discovery, reminding the court of the magistrate judge’s recommendation that the case is due to be dismissed, “because the plaintiff has failed to articulate a proper basis for the court’s exercise of jurisdiction.”

The motion, filed by Assistant Attorney General Robert M. Weinberg, further stated the issues presented by the government’s motion to dismiss and Davis’ objections to the report and recommendations “easily satisfy both prongs of the analysis suggested by the district court for the Eastern District of California when determining whether discovery should be stayed pending resolution of a motion potentially dispositive of the entire case.”

Opposition

In opposition, Davis’ attorney, J. Christian Adams, pointed out the government’s motion was filed merely two days after Davis had provided the court with extensive supplemental disclosures.

In other words, Adams wrote, “after plaintiff diligently prepared for trial by collecting evidence and providing such evidence to the defendants, defendants now seek to freeze the process, blocking plaintiffs from further diligently pursuing this case and providing defendants a respite from diligently preparing a defense.”

Adams then argued it would be unfair if the court granted the government’s motion because Davis has been complying with deadlines while the government seeks an excuse.

“Granting the motion would produce the severely prejudicial result of seeing the plaintiff comply with expert deadlines and exchange a completed expert report, while the defendants bask in the luxury of frozen time, blissfully unburdened by the need to diligently exchange an expert report which should have been completed on Aug. 31, 2012,” Adams stated. “It is manifestly unfair for the plaintiff to comply with the deadlines in the scheduling order and then the defendants enjoy peace and contemplation while time stands still.”

Adams went on to say that Davis has been preparing for a trial in April 2013, “and to stay discovery in this matter will result in an unjust and severe prejudice to the defendants.”

Davis filed a class action suit in November of last year, claiming he was denied from registering in the Decolonization Registry which was to be used for a plebiscite on Guam’s political status. He filed his complaint against the government of Guam and the Guam Election Commission alleging racial discrimination because he did not have the ancestral ties of a “native inhabitant” required to register. Months later, Magistrate Judge Joaquin Manibusan issued a report and recommendation of a dismissal of the case because the matter was not ripe for judicial review.

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Calvo defends Land Trust: Governor calls investigation 'an insult to ... Guam'

1:37 AM, Aug. 8, 2012
Written by 
Arvin Temkar
The Pacific Daily News 
A U.S. Department of Justice investigation into possible housing discrimination at the Chamorro Land Trust is "an insult to the people of Guam," Gov. Eddie Calvo said yesterday.

The Justice Department's Civil Rights Division is investigating whether the government of Guam's land use policies and practices discriminate by race or national origin, in violation of the Fair Housing Act.

Calvo said many people during and after World War II gave their land away for "pennies" under the impression it was the right thing to do, and thinking land would be returned.

The recipients of Chamorro Land Trust properties are descendents of "loyal and patriotic" people, he said.

"The Department of Justice should be spending time on other investigations," he said. "There are crimes going on in the nation that they should be focusing on."

The federal investigation was prompted by a 2009 complaint filed by Arnold "Dave" Davis of Yigo, who alleged he was unlawfully denied a Chamorro Land Trust land lease because he isn't Chamorro, according to PDN files.

Davis filed the complaint with the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Housing and Urban Development agency, which forwarded it to the Justice Department, PDN files said.

The Justice Department is investigating whether the Chamorro Land Trust violates the Fair Housing Act by limiting housing benefits to "native Chamorros," PDN files said.

A native Chamorro is defined by Guam law as "any person who became a U.S. citizen by virtue of the authority and enactment of the Organic Act of Guam, or descendants of such person."

The Justice Department has asked Guam's Office of the Attorney General to provide five years of records showing anyone who has been denied a lease of Chamorro Land Trust Act land, PDN files said.

"It's clearly wrong to say we are non-compliant," said Monte Mafnas, director of the Land Trust. "We do not give residential leases to those who are not qualified."

"If Davis proves he's a bona fide farmer, then we can help him with his farm," he said.
DOJ officials should also remember Chamorro native rights, and other areas that have rights for native inhabitants, he said. The land trust mirrors the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands, Mafnas said.

The Department of Hawaiian Home Lands was established under the Hawaiian Homes Commission Act, which set aside 200,000 acres for native Hawaiian homesteads.

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Feds investigate Land Trust: Agency looks at possible housing discrimination

2:00 PM, Aug. 7, 2012  |  
Written by
Gaynor Dumat-ol Daleno 
Pacific Daily News
The U.S. Department of Justice's Civil Rights Division is investigating whether the government of Guam's land use policies and practices discriminate based on race or national origin.

The Justice Department in Washington, D.C., informed Guam Attorney General Leonardo Rapadas in a letter received yesterday that the investigation seeks to determine whether the federal Fair Housing Act has been violated.

"Our investigation is ongoing, and we have not made a determination as to whether there has been a violation of the FHA by the government of Guam and any other parties," the letter stated. It was signed by Steven Rosenbaum, chief of Housing and Civil Enforcement Section.

The federal investigation stems from a complaint filed by Arnold "Dave" Davis, of Yigo, who alleged he was unlawfully denied a residential lease of land subject to the Chamorro Land Trust Act because he isn't Chamorro, the Justice letter states.

In addition to the allegations in Davis' complaint, the Justice Department stated its investigation "focuses on whether the Chamorro Land Trust Act ... as interpreted and implemented by the Chamorro Land Trust Commission ... and its administrative director discriminates on the basis of race or national origin in violation of the FHA by limiting certain housing-related benefits to persons who are 'native Chamorros.'"

The Justice Department asked the Guam attorney general's office to submit five years of records showing anyone who has been denied a lease of Chamorro Land Trust Act land, "whether for failing to qualify as a native Chamorro or otherwise."

"We believe that both public interest and the interests of Guam will be best served by our having complete and accurate information about the CLTC's land use practices," the Justice Department letter stated.

Guam law defines the term native Chamorro as "any person who became a U.S. citizen by virtue of the authority and enactment of the Organic Act of Guam, or descendants of such person."

Davis filed a complaint with the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Housing and Urban Development agency, which subsequently referred the matter to the Justice Department.

Davis said yesterday he filed the complaint in 2009 and remained hopeful the federal government would act on it.

The AG's office issued a statement yesterday afternoon acknowledging it received notice of the Justice Department's investigation, but officials from the AG's office didn't comment further.
The Chamorro Land Trust Commission and Department of Land Management weren't available for comment after 5 p.m. yesterday.

Davis also sued the Guam Election Commission because he was barred from joining a voter registry of native inhabitants of Guam, Pacific Daily News files state.

The registry is in place for a Chamorro-only plebiscite, which originally was supposed to have been held in 2000. It has been delayed repeatedly. Officials have said they hope to hold the plebiscite in 2014.

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Eric Holder is scheduled to land in Guam today, the first U.S. attorney general ever to visit the U.S. territory, which serves as a center of U.S. military power in the Western Pacific. But the Associated Press reports that after meeting with local officials, Holder will not take any questions from journalists “because his tight schedule doesn’t give him time for a press conference.”
 
That may be, but the curious omission also spares Holder from any questions about why his department has refused to intervene in or comment on an important court case involving U.S. citizens who are being barred from voting on the island — a far more serious matter than the mainland voter-ID laws decried by Holder as the equivalent of “poll taxes.”
 
The Chamorro-native-controlled government of Guam is actively excluding the non-Chamorro U.S. citizens on the island from voting in an upcoming referendum on the island’s future. Non-native citizens — Filipinos, other Asians, whites, and blacks — are even prohibited from registering to vote for the election, although they make up 63 percent of the island’s 155,000 residents. The intent is to guarantee that only natives will decide whether they wish to sever ties with the U.S. and seek independence for Guam, keep its status as a territory, or move toward statehood. The territory’s Chamorro governor and the Guam Election Commission can call the vote on this matter anytime they wish.
 
The restriction is defended by Guam as being non-racial because it restricts the vote to “native inhabitants” who lived in Guam in 1950 and their direct descendants. But the Supreme Court has frequently struck down such sly attempts to restrict voting rights. In Guinn v. United States (1915), the Court rejected Oklahoma’s attempt to close voter-registration rolls by saying that the Fifteenth Amendment nullifies “sophisticated as well as simple-minded modes of discrimination.” In 2000, in Rice v. Cayetano, the Supreme Court struck down a law that allowed only native Hawaiians to vote on who should run the Office of Hawaiian Affairs. The court opinion by Justice Anthony Kennedy stated: “Distinctions between citizens solely because of their ancestry are, by their very nature, odious to a free people whose institutions are founded upon the doctrine of equality.” The Voting Rights Act of 1965, barring discrimination in voting, is also in full effect in Guam. 
 
The challenge to Guam’s law was brought by Dave Davis, a retired Air Force major who has lived in Guam for 35 years. When he tried to register to participate in the referendum, his application was rejected and stamped “void” by the Election Commission. Davis said he was particularly offended because the form required him to certify his racial background under penalty of perjury. Lawyers from the stateside Election Law Center and the Center for Individual Rights helped Davis file a class-action suit alleging racial discrimination. He acted only after Holder’s Justice Department refused to do anything about the matter. Davis told the local Rotary Club that he filed his lawsuit “to dispel the notion that some American citizens are more qualified to vote on public issues than others.”
 
Justice’s indifference to his complaint is striking given that Guam’s law is even worse than many of the odious Jim Crow statutes that limited voting in the South. “Even under Jim Crow, some blacks successfully registered to vote after they navigated the nasty maze of character exams and shifting office hours,” says former DOJ civil-rights attorney Christian Adams, who is representing Major Davis.
 
But under Eric Holder, the Justice Department has engaged in a pattern of selective enforcement of discrimination laws. In 2009, it infamously dismissed a voter-intimidation lawsuit the departing Bush administration brought against the New Black Panther Party, even though the case had been effectively won in court. Justice’s former Voting Section chief Christopher Coates testified before the U.S. Civil Rights Commission in 2010 that he was informed by Julie Fernandes, an Obama-appointed deputy assistant attorney general, that the Voting Rights Act was not to be enforced in cases where racial minorities were accused of discrimination. 
 
In Guam, the desire to bar non-Chamorro voters from participating in the referendum has a clear racial motive. A request by Anne Perez Hattori, an associate professor at the University of Guam, to file an amicus brief baldly states that the goal of the voting restriction is to prevent “the flood of recent migrants to Guam” from voting and diluting the strength of the “natives.” That kind of language reminds one of the increasingly bizarre defenses made in favor of the old Jim Crow laws.
Guam has been American territory since it was ceded by Spain in 1898. More than 1,700 Americans along with many brave Guam residents lost their lives in liberating the island from Japanese occupation in 1944. Guam has long contributed many courageous men and women to the U.S. armed forces. 
 
But there is on the island an undercurrent of hostility against the U.S. The local government is dominated by Chamorros, because of high voter turnout on their part and a correspondingly low voter turnout by other ethnic groups. A vocal minority of Chamorros goes so far as to envision the referendum as a first step toward ridding the island of U.S. “colonizers.” Protesters often call for removal of a key nuclear-submarine base on the island as well as the closure of Anderson Air Force Base, the operating home of B-2 and B-52 bombers assigned to the region. At a time when China is flexing its military might and making incursions into the territory of nations in the South China Sea, Guam is more important than ever to U.S. security interests.
 
Despite the importance of Guam, ideologues in the Obama administration seem to be actively helping efforts that will only increase ethnic and racial tension on the island. The Obama Interior Department is set to transfer $250,000 to the island’s territorial government to promote and advertise the racially discriminatory referendum, which local observers predict will be called in 2014. 
 
It’s understandable why Eric Holder doesn’t want to answer questions while he is in Guam. The Voting Rights Act he claims to strongly support is being ignored on U.S. soil, and his Justice Department is completely indifferent — or even hostile — to enforcing it. No one would want to address all the contradictions inherent in that position. 
 
—John Fund is national-affairs columnist for NRO.

© National Review Online 2012. All Rights Reserved.

1 comment:

michelle cruz said...

Hafa Adai .
I am Michelle Cruz, a student from Okkodo High School. I was wondering if its okay with you, that I use your logo layout for yearbook? Please contact ASAP. Michelleusoncruz@gmail.com

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