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, 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:
|Name||Term as Associate Justice||Term as Chief Justice||Appointed by|
|Harry P. Wood||—||1921–1937||Albert Bacon Fall (under Harding)|
|Arthur A. Morrow||—||1937–1966||Harold LeClair Ickes (under F. Roosevelt)|
|V.G. Roel||1963–1966||—||Stewart Lee Udall (under Kennedy)|
|Joseph W. Goss||1966–1970||—||Stewart Lee Udall (under Johnson)|
|H. Edward Hydon||—||1966–1968||Stewart Lee Udall (under Johnson)|
|Donald H. Crothers||—||1968–1972||Walter Hickel (under Nixon)|
|Leslie N. Jochimsen||1971–1975||1975–1976||Rogers Clark Ballard Morton (under Nixon)|
|William J. McKnight III||—||1972–1975||Rogers Clark Ballard Morton (under Nixon)|
|K. William O'Connor||1976–1977||1977–1978||Thomas S. Kleppe (under Ford)|
|Richard I. Miyamoto||1976–1978||1978–1981||Thomas S. Kleppe (under Ford) (Associate Justice)
Cecil D. Andrus (under Carter) (Chief Justice)
|Thomas Murphy||1980–1987||—||Cecil D. Andrus (under Carter)|
|Robert Gardner||—||1981–1986||James G. Watt (under Reagan)|
|Grover Joseph Rees III||1988–1991||1986–1988||William Patrick Clark (under Reagan) (Chief Justice)
Donald Paul Hodel (under Reagan) (Associate Justice)
|F. Michael Kruse||1987–1988||1988–present||Donald Paul Hodel (under Reagan)|
|Lyle L. Richmond||1991–present||—||Manuel Lujan, Jr. (under G.H.W. Bush)|
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.
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