Although the U.S. Supreme Court has eventually granted Guam’s request for a 60-day extension to appeal the Ninth Circuit Court’s ruling on Dave Davis’ plebiscite lawsuit, there is no guarantee that the justices will actually pick up the case.
“We have a winning case,” said attorney Mike Phillip, the lead counsel for the appeal. “Unfortunately, the Supreme Court only accepts 1 percent of all petitions for certiorari.”
Phillips said he will file the appeal on “on or before Dec. 26.
He said the Supreme Court has yet to issue a written order granting his request for an extended time to seek a review of the Ninth Circuit’s ruling but there was “a notice of the docket entry and that’s where it says granted.”
The governor’s office said earlier was denied. “The electronic filing was rejected. We also filed hard copies and that is what justice Kagan reviews and what she basis her decision on,” Phillips explained.
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.
Asked about his legal strategy, Phillip said, “I have my plan but it will take time to explain. Bottom line is to show the Ninth Circuit misapplied the 15th Amendment.”
Phillip said he was pleased that Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero did not give up despite warnings from some attorneys that appealing the Ninth Circuit’s decision came with risks.
“Now we have an opportunity to be heard,” Phillips said. “Our people deserve nothing less. I am honored to be chosen and will try my very best. “