Article American Samoa: Constitutional Convention to Consider Unicameral Legislature

(June 30, 2010) American Samoa is an unorganized territory of the United States that has a population of approximately 66,000 people and falls under the Administration of the Office of Insular Affairs in the Department of the Interior. (Central Intelligence Agency, American Samoa, THE WORLD FACTBOOK, https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/aq.h
tml
(last visited June 28, 2010).) American Samoa has its own Revised Constitution of 1967, approved by the United States Congress. (American Samoa Code Annotated (2007), http://www.asbar.org/Newcode/asca.htm (last visited June 28, 2010).) On June 18, 2010, the Governor of the territory called for a Constitutional Convention to consider proposals to amend this document; it was last formally reviewed in 1987. (American Samoa Government, Executive Order No. 005-2010, http://americansamoa.gov/news/2010/gov-togiola-calls-american-samoa-c
onstitutional-convention-2010
(last visited June 28, 2010).) The Convention is taking place between June 21 and July 2, 2010.

One of the major issues to be discussed is whether American Samoa should create a unicameral legislature to replace the bicameral legislature, consisting of a Senate and House of Representatives, that currently constitutes its Fono.(American Samoa Government, American Samoa Fono, http://
americansamoa.gov/forum/topic/american-samoa-fono
(last visited June 28, 2010).) A proposal has been made that a unicameral Senate be created that would continue to be filled with members appointed by different tribal groups. Such a change would have to be approved by the electorate. However, even if this were to occur, it seems that the abolition of an elected chamber would “face objections” in the United States Congress. (Sarah Wheaton, An American Concept, Carried Out in Samoan Style, THE NEW YORK TIMES, June 25, 2010, at 18.)

Other proposals to remove some U.S. government oversight of the territory would abolish the Department of the Interior's authority to override the Governor's vetoes of legislation and to overturn decisions of the High Court of American Samoa. (American Samoa Convenes Constitutional Convention, ASSOCIATED PRESS STATE AND LOCAL WIRE, June 22, 2010, LEXIS-NEXIS, NEWS library, AP file.) There is also a proposal that would allow the legislature to enact laws that could be repealed by a majority of the voters at the next general election. This “people's initiative” would apply only to laws so designated. (American Samoa Government, “Section 19. People's Initiative,” Proposed Constitution Revisions June 26, 2010, http://americansamoa.gov/sites/default/files/concon/REVISIONS-6-26-10.pd
f
(last visited June 28, 2010).)

About this Item

Title

  • American Samoa: Constitutional Convention to Consider Unicameral Legislature

Online Format

  • web page

Rights & Access

Publications of the Library of Congress are works of the United States Government as defined in the United States Code 17 U.S.C. §105 and therefore are not subject to copyright and are free to use and reuse.  The Library of Congress has no objection to the international use and reuse of Library U.S. Government works on loc.gov. These works are also available for worldwide use and reuse under CC0 1.0 Universal. 

More about Copyright and other Restrictions.

For guidance about compiling full citations consult Citing Primary Sources.

Credit Line: Law Library of Congress

Cite This Item

Citations are generated automatically from bibliographic data as a convenience, and may not be complete or accurate.

Chicago citation style:

American Samoa: Constitutional Convention to Consider Unicameral Legislature. 2010. Web Page. https://www.loc.gov/item/global-legal-monitor/2010-06-30/american-samoa-constitutional-convention-to-consider-unicameral-legislature/.

APA citation style:

(2010) American Samoa: Constitutional Convention to Consider Unicameral Legislature. [Web Page] Retrieved from the Library of Congress, https://www.loc.gov/item/global-legal-monitor/2010-06-30/american-samoa-constitutional-convention-to-consider-unicameral-legislature/.

MLA citation style:

American Samoa: Constitutional Convention to Consider Unicameral Legislature. 2010. Web Page. Retrieved from the Library of Congress, <www.loc.gov/item/global-legal-monitor/2010-06-30/american-samoa-constitutional-convention-to-consider-unicameral-legislature/>.