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Russell to Push Again for St. Croix Location of Court

March 7, 2005 – Sen. Ronald Russell said Monday he is appalled at Gov. Charles W. Turnbull's decision to line-item veto a section of the Omnibus Justice Act of 2005 calling for the V.I. Supreme Court to be placed on St. Croix.
Russell, the primary sponsor of the amendment to the Supreme Court legislation, said he was going to move for an override of the governor's veto in the next legislative session.
"I was very disappointed by the governor's unilateral decision to line-item veto a section that would bring major development to St. Croix without giving a clear reason for doing so," Russell said.
Turnbull, in approving the Omnibus Act, had vetoed several sections, including the section that would place the Supreme Court in St. Croix. However, the governor did not give a reason for his decision in his letter to the Senate, and did not even state clearly what he was vetoing except to name it by its section number.
"I believe an override is appropriate in this instance," Russell said.
Russell said he did not understand why the governor did not approve the measure when he promised in his State of the Territory address to do all he could to improve the economy of St. Croix.
"I don't see why he would do this," Russell said, adding he did lots of research on the matter before sponsoring the legislature and sent Turnbull a letter telling him there were no legal ramifications of having the Supreme Court in St. Croix.
Russell said his main reason for sponsoring the legislation was because it would bring economic development to the island of St. Croix.
Sen. Neville James, who had previously voted for the amendment, said he expected the governor to veto the measure.
"I know that the governor comes from the old-school way of thinking," James said.
James said normally a Supreme Court is located a state's capital, but "I supported the legislation because I felt it was a move that would help the economy of St. Croix."
The Crucian senator said he would support an override of the governor's veto.
For a measure to be overridden, it needs the vote of at least 10 senators.
Russell said he new he had the support of all the St. Croix senators and three St. Thomas senators had pledged their support as well for the override. When the measure originally came before the Senate floor in February, the Senate unanimously approved it.
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