The Supreme Court is the appellate court of the Northern Mariana Islands. The Court was created in 1989 by the NMI Legislature to hear appeals from final judgments and orders of the NMI Superior Court. By law, the Supreme Court has mandatory appellate jurisdiction over all cases decided by the Superior Court. This means the Supreme Court hears both criminal and civil matters. While the Court’s decisions were initially appealable to the Ninth Circuit, beginning May 2004, the Court’s decisions became reviewable only by the United States Supreme Court.
The Court is located in the Guma’ Hustisia in Saipan. Oral arguments are held on Saipan, Tinian, and Rota. A panel of three justices hears each case. These proceedings are governed by the Supreme Court Rules.Justices are appointed by the governor, confirmed by the Commonwealth Senate, and serve eight year terms. After their first term, a justice wishing to serve another term must receive voter approval in a retention proposition presented on a general election ballot.
Justice John A. Manglona, born on Rota on June 12, 1959, has been a justice of the Commonwealth Supreme Court since May 2000. He served a four-year term as a Designated Justice in the Guam Supreme Court from 1999-2003.
The Honorable Alexandro C. Castro was nominated to serve as the Chief Justice of the CNMI Supreme Court by Governor Benigno R. Fitial on September 13, 2012. He appeared before the Senate Committee on Executive Appointments and Government Investigations on October 10, 2012.
Justice Perry Borja Inos, born on Saipan on September 26, 1966, ascended to the bench as an associate judge on September 22, 2008. He became an associate justice on March 8, 2013, after the Senate confirmed his nomination and he took the oath office as an Associate Justice.