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Renowned legal scholar shares vision to expand court

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Over 100 members of the Guam Bar Association participated in the Annual District Conference held on Thursday at the Hilton Resort and Spa. In addition to getting up to date with the law, participants earned continuing legal education credits.

Featured speakers included the Honorable Paul J. Watford from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit as well as nationally recognized legal scholar and regular commentator and legal analyst Professor Jonathan Turley. Turley shared with Guam's legal community his proposal to expand the court.

"My proposal is to expand the court to 19 members. Why do that? Well, I study courts around the world," he theorized. "Now, under my proposal no one would get all these new seats. It would take 20 years. A president would get two new seats every term until we had the full complement of the court. So it would take about 20 years and we would end up with a 19-member court with no president having more than two. Obviously, a president could fill any vacancy that would occur."

Although critics argue that too large a court wouldn't be effective, he disagrees and provided examples of courts around the world.

He added that appellate judges tend to show considerable discipline and there would be no concentration of power.

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