Davis v. Guam
In 2011, Arnold “Dave” Davis, a non-CHamoru former resident of Guåhan, filed a lawsuit against the Government of Guam claiming that his inability to register on the Guam Decolonization Registry was a violation of his rights under the US Constitution. Davis argued that the rights entitled to him through the Organic Act of Guam and the US Voting Rights Act were being violated by the native inhabitant clause. Attorney Julian Aguon, however, argued that the distinction being made regarding voter eligibility for the plebiscite was political rather than race-based; therefore, it did not violate federal voting rights and equal protection laws. The district court held that the plebiscite qualified as an election because it would be of interest to every resident of Guåhan. The Ninth Circuit Court agreed with that decision. Currently, the Governor’s Office and Attorney General are working to devise a path forward, one which meets the Constitutional requirements while also recognizing the historical (and ongoing) effects of colonization on the lives of the CHamoru people.