Saipan, CNMI – On October 31, 2023, the Supreme Court dismissed the appeal by former Governor Ralph DLG. Torres against the 22nd House Standing Committee on Judiciary & Governmental Operations. The former Governor appealed the Superior Court’s ruling that legislative immunity granted by the NMI Constitution provided absolute protection to the House Standing Committee from lawsuits regarding legislative activity.
The Court dismissed the case on mootness grounds, finding that the central issues in the appeal no longer presented an actual controversy. In January 2023, both the House Standing Committee of the 22nd Legislature—the appellee—adjourned sine die, and former Governor Torres—one of the appellants, in his official capacity—left office. The Court held that it has the discretion to decline review of an appeal when the adversarial parties no longer exist and have left office. The Supreme Court dismissed the appeal without deciding the merits of the Superior Court decision.
This press release has been prepared by court staff for the convenience of the public. For further information, contact the Supreme Court at Supreme.Court@NMIJudiciary.gov.