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Governor’s Legal Counsel Responds to JGO Chairwoman’s Statement

Gil Birnbrich, Legal Counsel for the Governor, issued the following statement in response to the statement issued late Wednesday, January 5, 2021, by Celina Babauta, Chairwoman of the House Standing Committee on Judiciary and Governmental Operations:

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CNMI Office of the Governor

Office of the Governor Response to Dismissal of Lawsuit Filed Against the House Judiciary & Government Operations Committee

Yesterday, the Superior Court held that the Office of the Governor could not proceed with its case against the House Judiciary and Government Operations Committee. Although the Administration respects the decision of the Judge, we believe the decision is erroneous by ignoring and misinterpreting law and precedent. For example, in its rush to follow federal precedent, it skipped right over the plain text of the Commonwealth Constitution. Then it overlooked some of the most important protections found even in the federal cases — such as the rule that the legislature may subpoena the executive only when the information it needs is not reasonably available anywhere else. The decision will be appealed. It will be for the Supreme Court to ultimately decide the merits of this civil case.

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