Other Legal Resources
American Samoa faces many complex legal issues on a regular basis. Many of these are historical, due to the unique political and cultural landscape of the territory, and full understanding goes far outside the black letter of the law. To assist with these issues, the Bar Association compiles issues pages to provide some key documents and background, to assist the public in understanding the legal world they live in.
Legal Issues Pages:
Below are some alternative legal resources pertaining to American Samoa. The Legal Issues pages are compiled documents put together by the Bar to assist the public and researchers looking for information on key legal topics.
Western Samoa Laws (outside link)
Documents Related to the Legal System of American Samoa
Law Review Articles about American Samoa
Adam C. Clanton, "Born to Run: Can an American Samoan Become President?" 29 UCLA Pac. Basin L.J. 135 (Spring 2002).
Adam C. Clanton, “How to Transfer Venue When You Only Have One: The Problem of High Profile Criminal Jury Trials in American Samoa,” 29 U. Haw. L. Rev. 325 (2006-2007).
Daniel E. Hall, “Curfews, Culture, and Custom in American Samoa: An Analytical Map for Applying the U.S. Constitution to the U.S. Territories,” 2 Asian-Pacific L. & Pol’y J. 69 (Winter 2001). Available in pdf at the University of Hawii.
Marybeth Herald, “Does the Constitution Follow the Flag into United States Territories or Can it be Separately Purchased and Sold,” 22 Hastings Const. L.Q. 707 (1994-1995).
Robert A. Katz, “The Jurisprudence of Legitimacy: Applying the Constitution to U.S. Territories,” 59 U. Chi. L. Rev. 779 (Spring 1992).
Stanley K. Laughlin, Jr., “Cultural Preservation in Pacific Islands: Still a Good Idea and Constitutional,” 27 Hawaii L. Rev. 331 (Summer 2005).
Stanley K. Laughlin, Jr., “The Application of the Constitution in United States Territories: American Samoa, A Case Study,” 2 U. Haw. L. Rev. 337 (1980).
Stanley K. Laughlin, Jr., “The Berger Court and the United States Territories,” 36 U. Fla. L. Rev. 755 (Fall 1984).
Stanley K. Laughlin, Jr., “The Constitutional Structure of the Courts of the United States Territories: The Case of American Samoa,” 13 U. Haw. L. Rev. 379 (Fall 1991).
Stanley K. Laughlin, Jr., “United States Government Policy and Social Stratification in American Samoa,” 53 Oceania 29 (Sept. 1982).
Arnold H. Leibowitz, “American Samoa: Decline of a Culture,” 10 Cal. W. Int’l L.J. 220 (1980).
A.P. Lutali & William J. Stewart, “A Chieftal System in Twentieth Century America: Legal Aspects of the Matai System in the Territory of American Samoa,” 4 Ga. J. Int’l & Comp. L. 387 (1974).
Maurice H. McBride, “The Application of the American Constitution to American Samoa,” 9 J. Int’l L. & Econ. 325 (1974).
Jeffrey B. Teichert, "Resisting Temptation in the Garden of Paradise: Preserving the Role of Samoan Custom in the law of American Samoa," 3 Gonz. J. Int'l L. 35 (1999-2000). Available at the Gonzaga Journal of International Law.
James R. Thornbury, “A Time for Change in the South Pacific?” 67 Rev. Jur. U.P.R. 1099 (1998). Available at the University of the South Pacific.
Uilisone Falemanu Tua, “A Native’s Call for Justice: The Call for the Establishment of a Federal District Court in American Samoa,” 11 Asian-Pacific L. & Pol’y J. 246 (2009). Available in pdf at the University of Hawii.
Michael W. Weaver, “The Territory Federal Jurisdiction Forgot: The Question of Greater Federal Jurisdiction in American Samoa,” 7 Pac. Rim L. & Pol’y J. 325 (March 2008). Available at the University of Washington.
Books on the Law in American Samoa
Stanley K. Laughlin, Jr., The Law of the United States Territories and Affiliated Jurisdictions Lawyers Cooperative Publishing, 1995.
Other Important Documents
GAO Report – “American Samoa: Issues Associated with Some Federal Court Options,” 2008. Discusses the options related to expanding federal jurisdictions to American Samoa.