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Thursday, March 23, 2023
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Sen. Russell Should Not Go to Court

Dear Source:
I take notice of Senator Ronald Russell's disagreement with the Turnbull's position on the situs of the Virgin Islands Supreme Court. I believe that the Senator's proposed lawsuit transcends the Revised Organic Act of 1954, which sets forth the location of the seat of the Government of the Virgin Islands. Even if the Administration prevails, nothing precludes offices of that court from having operations on St. Croix in the same manner as the Superior Court of the Virgin Islands. An action which will most likely ask the court for a declaratory judgment should not be brought by a member of the legislature. It is simply not correct.
As the Chief Legal Counsel for the 15th Legislature, (1983-84), I was directed to bring an action in the U. S. District Court in the case of the 15th Legislature of the Virgin Islands vs., Governor Juan Luis in 1983. In that case, the governor gave a recess appointment to the Acting Commissioner of Commerce, which should have expired after 180 days, but in defiance of the Legislature, he ignored the statutory mandate. The 15th Legislature asked the court to find that the Governor had willfully ignored the law, and the court agreed. The 15th Legislature prevailed on the U. S. District Court level as well as at the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit.
I believe that the current Chief Legal Counsel is competent to bring the action on behalf of the members of the legislature and the directive should be given by a majority of the members of the current legislature to file the appropriate action in a court of competent jurisdiction.
The legislature will be setting a bad precedent if Senator Russell is allowed to bring his own action in the court, especially if a majority of the members don't agree with the proposed action.

Eric E. Dawson
Viera, Florida

Editor's note: We welcome and encourage readers to keep the dialogue going by responding to Source commentary. Letters should be e-mailed with name and place of residence to source@viaccess.net.

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