Canto Proposes Concurrent Review with Legislature
Third branch of government speaks to separation of powers doctrine in separate letter
Press Update: March 2, 2011
Governor’s Chief Legal Counsel James L. Canto II today wrote to Speaker Judith T. Won Pat, Ed.D. proposing a concurrent review of the Attorney General’s recent opinion on the Guam First Commission. He offers that if both or either of the findings of their reviews are similar to the AG, they work together with the AG to fix any deficiencies of the law.
“I have been directed by Governor Calvo to review the Attorney General’s opinion,” Canto wrote to Speaker Won Pat. “As I do so, Governor Calvo is requesting that the Legislature also have its legal counsel conduct a concurrent review. If both or either of our reviews supports a concern about the organicity of P.L. 29-128 similar to the Attorney General’s, the Governor feels we should immediately confer with the Attorney General’s Office to correct any deficiencies in the law so as to allow the Kumision to carry out its intended mandate to the fullest extent permitted by law.”
Canto received the AG’s opinion Friday and has been reviewing it since. Governor Calvo also is reviewing the opinion. Canto explains in his letter to Speaker Won Pat that a similar concern was raised by Supreme Court Chief Justice F. Philip Carbullido in his transmittal of the Judiciary’s nomination to the Guam First Commission. Governor Calvo believes it is critical to hear concerns from all Guam stakeholders about the military buildup and to work collaboratively to move Guam’s agenda forward. The Governor wants to ensure that actions taken are far removed from future legal challenge.
“The significance of the Court’s letter has been amplified by the Attorney General’s opinion,” Canto wrote. “The Attorney General’s opinion and the Court’s letter are cause for great concern to Governor Calvo. Because of the role which the Kumision is tasked to perform in guiding the Guam buildup, an enormous undertaking with serious and long-reaching consequences, Governor Calvo feels it is absolutely necessary that the Kumision’s authority is above reproach, and that we are all assured any action taken by the Kumision will be legally binding and not subject to future legal challenge.”

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