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Supreme Court of the Virgin Islands

The Supreme Court of the Virgin Islands is the highest court in the territory of the United States Virgin Islands. The Supreme Court assumed jurisdiction over all appeals from the Superior Court of the Virgin Islands, a trial level court, on January 29, 2007. There are five seats on the Supreme Court, only three of which have been filled. The Supreme Court currently consists of a Chief Justice and two Associate Justices. Supreme Court justices are each appointed by the Governor and confirmed by the Legislature for a ten-year term. There is no intermediate court of appeals, and the Supreme Court does not have discretion in hearing appeals. Appeals of Supreme Court decisions were heard by writ of certiorari by the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit until December 29, 2012, but since then they have been heard by the Supreme Court of the United States in Washington, DC.

Supreme Court of the Virgin Islands
Established2007 (12 years ago)
Composition methodGubernatorial selection with legislative advice and consent
Appeals toSupreme Court of the United States
Number of positions5
WebsiteSupreme Court of the Virgin Islands
Chief Justice of the Virgin Islands
CurrentlyRhys S. Hodge

On June 19, 2012, after a review of finished cases, the Third Circuit recommended that appeals from the Supreme Court go to the U.S. Supreme Court instead of the Third Circuit. In July 2012, Delegate to Congress Donna M. Christensen (D-VI) introduced a bill to shorten the time from 15 years from the Supreme Court's inauguration in 2007 to immediately upon bill passage for this to take effect, and the bill passed the House of Representatives in November and the Senate in December 2012.[1] President Barack Obama signed the bill into law on December 29, 2012, and all appeals from Supreme Court decisions from that day forward go to the U.S. Supreme Court.[2]

With its Supreme Court appeals going only to the United States Supreme Court, in the same manner as a state supreme court, the Virgin Islands enjoys the greatest degree of autonomy over local affairs that it has ever experienced in its history.


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  2. ^ staff, Source (December 30, 2012). "President Signs V.I. Supreme Court Bill into Law".

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