Guam to appeal 9th Circuit Court's plebiscite ruling

(Updated Oct. 22, ;4:58 p.m.)

Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero has decided to appeal the Ninth Circuit Court’s ruling on Guam’s plebiscite law, acknowledging that she is taking a gamble that may drag other similar policies into the game.

“While this has always been my personal belief, I must also weigh it against the careful, thorough legal advice of our attorney general and special assistant AGs. They believe that there is potential for significant risk associated with an appeal to the current U.S. Supreme Court,” the governor said in her special address Monday.

In a ruling issued in July, the Ninth Circuit Court held that limiting the political status vote to “native inhabitants of Guam” is a violation of the Fifteenth Amendment. The court’s decision stemmed from a lawsuit filed in November 2011 by Air Force veteran Arnold Davis, who was denied a chance to register for the yet-to-be-scheduled self-determination plebiscite.

Leon Guerrero said she will ask Attorney General Leevin Camacho to appoint Sen. Therese Terlaje and attorney Mike Phillips to lead Guam’s appeal in the U.S. Supreme Court.

In a statement issued on Tuesday, Terlaje welcomed the governor's decision to appeal the ruling, but declined the offer to lead the legal team.