High Court of American Samoa
|High Court of American Samoa|
The High Court of American Samoa courthouse
|Established||1921 (96 years ago)|
|Location||Fagatogo, American Samoa|
|Composition method||appointed by the United States Secretary of the Interior|
|Authorized by||Constitution of American Samoa|
|Decisions are appealed to||Supreme Court of the United States|
|No. of positions||2|
The High Court of American Samoa is a Samoan court and the highest court below the United States Supreme Court in American Samoa. The Court is located in the capital of Fagatogo. It consists of one chief justice and one associate justice, appointed by the United States Secretary of the Interior, holding office during "good behavior" and removable for cause.
The High Court of American Samoa also has several Samoan associate judges who sit with the two justices. Normally, two associate judges will sit with the chief justice and associate justice on every case.
The Secretary of the Interior retains ultimate authority over the courts.
The High Court consists of four divisions:
- the trial division;
- the probate division;
- the land and titles division; and
- the appellate division.
The trial division, which consists of the Chief Justice, the Associate Justice, and associate judges, is a court of general jurisdiction, empowered to hear, among other things, felony cases and civil cases in which the amount in controversy exceeds $5,000.
The justices of the court:
- Tagupa 1983, p. 23.
- Leibowitz, Arnold H (1989). Defining Status: A Comprehensive Analysis of United States Territorial Relations. p. 420. ISBN 978-0-7923-0069-4.
His legal position would not only permit him to investigate and overturn decisions of the judiciary in American Samoa, but the decisions of the Executive and Legislative branches as well. … The very fact that his office exists as an ombudsman, to put it kindly, or as a benevolent dictator — to put it less generously — depreciates all Samoan government institutions and makes the Samoan Constitution adopted in 1960 a giant deceit.
- Tagupa, William E. H (September 1983). "Judicial Intervention in Matai Title Succession Disputes in American Samoa". Oceania. 54 (1): 23–31. JSTOR 40330715.
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