The U.S. Supreme Court rejected the government of Guam's request for an extension to file an appeal on a lower court's ruling on the plebiscite vote.
According to a press release from the governor's office, attorney Michael Phillips briefed the governor Wednesday morning of the Supreme Court's rejection.
At issue is Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero and Lt. Gov. Joshua Tenorio's intent – at the urging of certain senators and activists – to appeal a federal appellate court's ruling that struck down the plebiscite law. Guam's plebiscite law restricts voting to native inhabitants of the island, which two federal courts have said is unconstitutional.
"While this decision was a disappointment, it was not unexpected. All attorneys involved advised of the small likelihood that the Court would entertain the petition as well as the risks involved if the Court had taken up that petition," the governor's office's press release stated. "Despite this fact, pursuing other alternatives to preserve our voice in Guam's self-determination effort required that all appellate options were exhausted."
Phillips filed the request for an extension to file an appeal on the date that the appeal was due. The window to request an extension closed 10 days prior. Phillips was hired a few days after that 10-day window closed.
"The filing missed the deadline," said J. Christian Adams, the attorney who represented Dave Davis in the case challenging Guam's plebiscite after he was denied the opportunity to register to vote. "Now it is time to move past racial exclusion and treat everyone equally. Everyone is entitled to vote on status now, and efforts to divide people must end."
The release notes that Adelup is working on an alternative:
"Draft legislation, which will attempt to meet the narrow holding of the 9th Circuit Court, will be forwarded to Senator Therese Terlaje in an effort to continue the momentum that the Commission on Decolonization has generated for the past year. This important work will continue until Guam’s native inhabitants have cast their votes for self-determination."