This was a huge week for the Chamoru people. Julian Aguon defended our island’s people against Dave Davis, a notorious racist on island who often appropriates the language of oppressed groups to justify his lack of regard for the human rights of indigenous people. I was anxious and excited for days up until the hearing. By the time the big day rolled around, I could barely focus. I spent the whole day at work dying for an update. I was grateful to see that there were MANY updates being shared by the residents who were able to attend. Every single person that went left blown away by Julian Aguon’s accuracy, storehouse of knowledge, and vigilance. He made the island incredibly proud. There is so much talk of “heroes” on our island, but Julian truly is one. He is a true warrior for Guam, an actual soldier in the defense of our beautiful home. He’s our modern day Hurao and I could not be more grateful to him. Below is a pasted in excerpt of Victoria LG’s notes after being in attendance. Audio clips of the hearing are available online and I hope you will check them out. Thank you, Julian! You gave us all so much to be proud of this week.
Vicky LG’s quick summary:
What a day! I’m finally sitting at my kitchen table typing up my notes from the Arnold “Dave” Davis vs. Guam Election Commission case, and I am still blown away by the layers and layers that were unpacked. My best summary:
1. Dave Davis didn’t even show up.
2. Davis’ Attorney Christian Adams seemed to want to lose. His arguments were weak despite his consistent tinge of arrogance. Even when he made good points, he did very little to back them up especially when up against Attorney Julian Aguon, who represented Guam, and ran a marathon of words that the court reporter couldn’t keep up with. Adams didn’t even want to cross the finish line. He said he had a flight to catch at 5 and complained about the fact that the trial lasted 6 hours. The judge had to remind him of the importance of the case.
3. Our political candidates and elected officials should talk to lawyers (especially Julian Aguon) and know exactly what they are doing before making any large claims about, introducing legislation on, or trying to take into their own hands Guam’s decolonization. Everything THEY do can be used against US in a court of law. Attorney Adams cited several incidents and statements from our local leaders that supported his claims and that were very hurtful to the progress of our decolonization efforts.
4. And lastly, Attorney Aguon so eloquently summed up the heart of this matter. As the judge repeatedly pointed out he was talking 330 words per minute (because his brain was working 330 mph), thus, my notes (which almost filled an entire large legal pad) are very freehand and sometimes illegible, but here are the points that really stood out to me that I hope our community thinks and talks about:
[From Julian Aguon] Decolonization is not a right that applies to all, “it is a remedy to restore a right” that was taken away. This cure is meant for a particular harm that was inflicted on a particular group of people. U.S. Congress itself defines this group as those who were made citizens by the enactment of the 1950 Organic Act of Guam and their descendants. To argue, as Attorney Adams did for Davis, that this is a civil rights issue because Davis is being denied the right to vote in this particular plebiscite, assumes that the right to vote is a fundamental right in an unincorporated territory whose residents are blatantly denied the right to vote for people who make decisions on their behalf. The courts continue to uphold this because the Constitution and specifically the 14th and 15th Amendments, and even the voting rights act do not always apply to us. The Insular Cases affirm this in defining an unincorporated territory as a possession of Congress that is not on the path to statehood, but rather de-annexation and fuller self-governance. Thus, Davis’ claims that the people of Guam are racist in not allowing him to register in Guam’s Decolonization Registry are, as Attorney Aguon accurately expressed, “repugnant.”