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Jun 25, 2008

Litigate to negotiate?

The Saipan Tribune reports that Governor Fitial is preparing to sue the U.S. to invalidate the new federalization law. In his statement, the Governor says that he does "not question the authority of the Congress to apply to the Commonwealth the existing federal immigration laws that apply to every other part of the United States except American Samoa."

But wait a minute, if the feds did apply those laws to the CNMI, with no transitions, exceptions or special provisions, wouldn't almost all of the guest workers have to leave immediately? Wouldn't there be no hope of special visa waivers for tourists? Is the Governor really suggesting that it would be OK for the feds to apply standard immigration law to the CNMI immediately and with no exceptions, but that phasing out the guest worker program more slowly, offering a special visa waiver program, etc., is "an intrusion into our governance of local affairs to which no other community of United States citizens has ever been subjected"? Does this make sense?

Is this a good use of CNMI taxpayer funds? Is this merely a strategy of, as the Governor once put it, "litigate to negotiate"? But for that strategy to work, wouldn't the CNMI have to have some negotiating power?

Remember when the CNMI sued the U.S. over submerged lands and lost? The CNMI was left with no control over its offshore resources, unlike the other territories. The Senate then offered the CNMI control over its offshore waters up to three miles, which is what the other territories have. Pete A supported it but the Governor rejected it, on the theory that he would "negotiate" for more. As a result, the legislation died and the CNMI remains, years later, as the only territory with no control over its offshore resources. Is that how this "litigate to negotiate" strategy works? Are we missing something?

36 comments:

Diogenes said...

"We" are not missing something, but you are.

The end game is not finished with respect to submerged lands. That is why we need a delegate who is not defeatist, who fully supports the rights of the indigenous CNMI people.

That is the problem with Pew. They are intermeddling before we have fully availed ourselves of what opportunities are out there.

Puerto Rico has nine miles rather than three. After the U.S. has taken away the basis of our economy -- resulting in a projected 50% decline in Gross Domestic Product, compared to 18% during the Great Depression -- Congress is much more likely to make a much fairer disposition of our Exclusive Economic Zone by statute than did the courts under the Paramountcy Doctrine.

Likewise, everyone knows that Public Law 110-229 is flawed. The question is, what will Congress do about that?

denial ain't just a river in egypt said...

isn't the supreme court the final authority? come on dio, it's a done deal.

Diogenes said...

As to the CNMI's EEZ, this time Congress is likely to have the last word.

As to federalization not only of immigration, but labor and the CNMI economy, if the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit rules against Governor Fitial and certiorari is denied, then Congress is likely to have the last word there, too.

Anonymous said...

Do taxpayers have a say on Fitial's litigation? What if they don't want their taxes spent on US-based attorneys now reviewing the draft complaint? Can taxpayers sue the CNMI gov't too?

Anonymous said...

well, that is his prerogative and that's why he is the governor. did we make a fuss when the previous administration sued for the submerged lands.

Bruce A. Bateman said...

Sue 'em.

In a court of law you can be right or you can be wrong. If you are right you may prevail or you may lose. If you are wrong, you may prevail or you may lose.

Fairness and justice may be part of the process and it may not. All of the above is why there are appeal courts.

Diogenes above is correct when he says the submerged lands question is not fully and inexorably resolved. We still have a chance to have fairness win out and gain control of our own waters.

Colonists in the 21st century may fair better than their counterparts in centuries past because of the power of global and national public opinion...if we will but bring it to bear… on the Labor/Immigration issue and on the Submerged lands issue and even our political Status.

cactus said...

Bruce is right -- sue 'em.

We are shut out of the executive and legislative branches of the federal government, but we still have equal access to the judiciary. Let us make the most of it.

Jeff said...

Sue em, right. It's not like we don't need the money for more important or fruitful pursuits.

Anonymous said...

Last I checked, the Federal Gov't. has over 1 million attorneys working for it. Do we (the CNMI) have the resources to go against a force this big?

Lil' Hammerhead said...

Sue 'em til we've not a penny left in the bank. That would be the wise thing to do. Right?

Anonymous said...

George Miller has been waiting for payback since Seimer/Willens first enlisted Abramoff. It's Miller's friends who are going to the House, the Senate and the White House in January.
This litigation folly will be seen as nothing but impudence. Bring some phonebooks they're gonna take us to the woodshed.

Ms. D. said...

It's somewhat humorous this view that some have of the federal government being some vindictive ogre. They look out for what they consider to be in the best interests of the nation, including its territories.

We need to do the same. Our views may differ based on different perspectives. The Great Depression was a decline of 18% in Gross Domestic Product. Our decline due to federalization is estimated at 50%.

So for us, it's a big deal. To the feds, we're seldom thought about, except in the context of media activists who continue to excoriate us for our intransigence and impudence.

So as low as the likelihood of success may be (25%-30%), sometimes a lawsuit is the only way to get the attention of Congress. It will be easier to get that attention in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia than it would be in the federal court out here.

Last I checked, the Federal Gov't. has over 1 million attorneys working for it. Do we (the CNMI) have the resources to go against a force this big?

Fortunately, there is a law of diminishing returns. Over six lawyers on a side is fairly unusual.

Also, the reason the feds have so many lawyers is that they have so many lawsuits. It's not like they have lots of extra lawyers sitting around twiddling their thumbs.

People who complain about the cost of litigation, saying it should go to CUC, are overlooking the much higher revenue losses that will befall us if we lose our hard-working foreign national employees. Already, projects that would revive our economy are being postponed because of the Public Law 110-229 cap on workers and uncertainty on future availability of labor.

As noted above, governors from Larry Guerrero to Juan Babauta have sued (and lost to) the federal government; why should Ben Fitial be treated any differently when the stakes are infinitely greater than in those lawsuits (about feds auditing our taxes, and control of the submerged lands)?

Stay the course!

Now is no time for faint hearts!

Anonymous said...

“Already, projects that would revive our economy are being postponed because of the Public Law 110-229 cap on workers and uncertainty on future availability of labor.”

I would like to see the proof pls?

Tom

p.s. dont include the SHOE FACTORY!!

Jeff said...

We can't open school on time or power our traffic lights. I'm sure Congress is trembling at the juggernaut in the Pacific.

Shooting ourselves in the foot said...

The governor may as well hang a big sign at the airport: "DO NOT INVEST HERE FOR THE NEXT FIVE YEARS!!"

Think about it. What investor in his right mind would choose to invest here, not knowing what the rules will be until the outcome of the lawsuit is known?

Anonymous said...

The fact that much is at stake is no reason to sue. The chances of this lawsuit succeeding are zero. It may also have the very harmful side effect of limiting the ability of federal agencies to cooperate with the CNMI in drafting the regs. The real effort should be on uniting the community (not just the segment that this 28% governor tries to please) and working with the feds to come up with regs and possibly legislative amendments that are helpful. The lawsuit is a waste of time.

Anonymous said...

"The end game is not finished with respect to submerged lands."

Yes, but the fact that the CNMI sued has gotten us nothing. It's silly to say that filing a worthless lawsuit that will get laughed out of court and further damage our reputation will somehow increase our "bargaining power". These doofuses who are advising the governor are clueless.

2 freeloaders said...

Fitial & Stanley for Governor

Slogan "Why not Willie's boys"

Paul Harsany said...

A 50% decline in GDP? Completely unrealistic, and a very far fetched estimate.

A 50% decline in profits? Doubtful.

congress a go-go said...

arnold palacious said he was concerned about the fees but if "someone" else was paying "I guess it is oK then"...what an idiot.

Anonymous said...

Bruce Bateman, the hypocrite of the year. He says to sue them, but blasts Congresswoman Tina Sablan and Ed Probst for suggesting a class action lawsuit. What is your beef with Tina anyway? I laughed at you when you were supporting the casino act. Don't you ever learn? You supported a casino that you could not benefit because it would only benefit the benefactors, or organizers of that corrupt casino idea. Maybe you were hoping to be hired as a consultant? Bwahahahahahaha!

Hey Bruce, you are as dumb as you look. Actually you are dumber.

Some people try to bring change. All you do is perpetuate the hate. How is your bar doing anyway?

Run for delegate. You will finish last not because you are white, but because you are an idiota.

Chada na na'an mu boy!

Anonymous said...

What a dumb argument. Submerged lands? Saipan will soon be submerged if we don't impeach Ben Tan.

Anonymous said...

anon...Saipan will be soon be submerged if we don't impeach Ben Tan?

The Supreme court made two recent historic rulings which gave terrorist more rights. regardless if the governor was going to sue or not the people of the CNMI deserve to have the Covenant preserved and respected.

If you disagree then you must agree with the fact that terrorist have more rights over us.

Anonymous said...

If you agree then you need to be edumocated because u1dumbass!

Bruce A. Bateman said...

Uh oh, looks like someone screwin' (or wanting to) Tina is a little upset. Looks like they were on the Tinian gambling payroll as well. Hmmm, could it be an anonymous chicken shit? Yes it could. Yes it is.

Anonymous said...

Bruse, they call you "eggs" there?

Anonymous said...

Word is that former senator Ray Kumoi Guerrero IS Ben Fitial's running mate in 09.

Ray Kumoi Guerrero is Judge Lizama's Chairman.

Judge Lizama will support the Fitial/Kumoi ticket in 09.

Anonymous said...

If Ray Guerrero is Lizama's running mate then why is the real word that the Governor will run with Esther Fleming.

Stop spreading rumors 09 is far away.

Fitial and Villagomez look what happened.

Fitial and Reyes was also something that went out.

Fitial and kilili was another possibility.

Fitial and Pete A. was yet another.

See it's easy.

Anonymous said...

Very Successful event last night at thw World Resort.

The Honorable Judge Juan Tudela Lizama had over 3,000 registered voters in attendance at his free cocktail and dinner event.

Biba Judge Lizama.

carlos the mackerel said...

"Chada na na'an mu boy"? Your name is 'egg'? Shouldn't that be "chada nana mu" (your mother's 'egg')?

Call me a stickler for accuracy, but it seems to me that if you don't know how to curse in your own language, you have no business calling somebody else "idiota."

Anonymous said...

Lol. Can't speak English or Chamorro.

Biba Bruce Bateman for delegate!

Anonymous said...

Go Bruce for delegate!

juan liz-icks my biz-alls said...

"Biba Judge Lizama."

biba my nutsack!

Ron Hodges said...

Chamberonomics 52 - The Godfather

Is the NMI suing the United States. It is expensive to sue the government of the United States of America. All federal lawsuits, especially frivolous ones like this one, are both costly and time consuming. Apparently the CNMI now has a lot of money and time on it‘s hands. One must ask: “Where is this money and time coming from?”.

Private companies, as yet unnamed, have offered to fund this absurd legal action against the United States government. Does anyone even KNOW who these ’investors’ are? I’ve seen The Godfather. Are we asking Don Corleone for a favor? Who exactly are we borrowing this money from? The source of this funding could be organized crime, the Chinese government, HANMI slavers or even (God forbid) our notorious Saipan Chamber of Commerce. We, the citizens, have a right to know who is putting up the capital for this venture. It is clandestine agreements that got us the thriving economy that we now enjoy.

“Politics make strange bedfellows” says the old cliche. The CNMI has been in the right bed, with the wrong partners, for too long. We should be proud to be members of the United States of American. This administration is harkening back to the days of Jack Abramoff, when disgrace for the decent people of the Commonwealth had a dollar value? Stalling federalization in the CNMI will do irreparable harm to our economy and accentuate our shame. Fighting our inevitable future will only delay the aid we most desperately need with electric power, potable water and adequate housing for everyone. In addition this contemptuous behavior will further shun the private and military investors which we so desperately need.

These deplorable actions must stop before our beautiful island become the target of more international shame. It is both unethical an undemocratic for our governor to use slush funds of unknown origin to speak and act for us. IS THIS WHAT WE WANT???

Anonymous said...

well ronny it's the governors prerogative and since you obviously had your time now let him enjoy his.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for always saying it like it is Ronnie and thanks for speaking for me.

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