Supreme Court of the Virgin Islands
|Supreme Court of the Virgin Islands|
|Established||2007 (11 years ago)|
|Country||United States Virgin Islands , United States|
|Composition method||Gubernatorial selection with legislative advice and consent|
|Decisions are appealed to||Supreme Court of the United States|
|No. of positions||3|
|Website||Supreme Court of the Virgin Islands|
|Chief Justice of the Virgin Islands|
|Currently||Rhys S. Hodge|
The Supreme Court of the Virgin Islands is the highest court in the territory of the United States Virgin Islands. The Supreme Court assumed jurisdiction over all appeals from the Superior Court of the Virgin Islands, a trial level court, on January 29, 2007. There are three Supreme Court justices who are each appointed by the Governor and confirmed by the Legislature for a ten-year term. If reconfirmed after this initial term, judges may continue serving during good behavior. The Supreme Court consists of a Chief Justice and two Associate Justices. There is no intermediate court of appeals, and the Supreme Court does not have discretion in hearing appeals. Appeals of Supreme Court decisions were heard by writ of certiorari by the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit until December 29, 2012, but since then they have been heard by the United States Supreme Court.
On June 19, 2012, after a review of finished cases, the Third Circuit recommended that appeals from the Supreme Court go to the U.S. Supreme Court instead of the Third Circuit. In July 2012, Delegate to Congress Donna M. Christensen (D-VI) introduced a bill to shorten the time from 15 years after the 2007 advent of the Supreme Court for this to take effect, and the bill passed the House of Representatives in November, and the Senate in December 2012. President Barack Obama signed the bill into law on December 29, 2012, and all appeals from Supreme Court decisions from that day forward go to the U.S. Supreme Court.
With Supreme Court appeals going only to the United States Supreme Court, in the same manner as a state supreme court, the Virgin Islands enjoys the greatest degree of autonomy over local affairs that it has ever experienced in its history.
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