Article VII

     Section 1.  The judicial power of the State shall be vested in the State Court, and other courts as may be created by law.

     Section 2.  The State Court shall be the highest court of the State and shall consist of a Chief Justice and two Associate Justices.  The number of Associate Justices may be increased by law upon the request of the State Court.  Retired Justices of the State Court, or other persons learned or experienced in the law, may serve temporarily on the State Court at the request of the Chief Justice.  The Chief Justice may give a special assignment to a person to serve as an Associate Justice for a case.  In case of vacancy in the Office of the Chief Justice, or if he is ill, absent or otherwise unable to serve, an Associate Justice shall serve temporarily in his place.

Constitional amendment:  The underlined clause was a constitutional amendment adopted by Yap State voters on November 7, 2006 and certified by the Yap State Election Commissioner on November 24, 2006.  The amendment was set forth in Proposal No. 2004-38, D1 of the 2004 Yap Constitutional Convention.

     Section 3.  The Governor shall nominate and appoint, with the advice and consent of the Legislature, the Chief Justice and Associate Justices of the State Court.  Justices of the State Court shall hold their offices for terms of six years.

     Section 4.  Compensation of Justices of the State Court shall be prescribed by law.  Their compensation shall not be decreased during their respective terms of office, except by general law applying to salaried officers of the State Government.

     Section 5.  The courts shall have original and appellate jurisdiction as prescribed by law.

Case annotations:  A state law provision attempting to place "original and exclusive jurisdiction" in the Yap State Court cannot divest a national court of responsibilities placed upon it by the national constitution, which is the "supreme law of the Federated States of Micronesia."  Gimnang v. Yap, 5 FSM Intrm. 13, 23 (App. 1991).

A state law cannot divest the FSM Supreme Court of exclusive jurisdiction in cases arising under art. XI, 6(a) of the FSM Constitution. Faw v. FSM, 6 FSM Intrm. 33, 36-37 (Yap 1993).

     Section 6.  The State Court shall make and promulgate rules governing the practice and procedure in civil and criminal cases, which shall have the force and effect of law, provided that the Legislature may establish or change such rules by law.  The State Court shall be a court of record.

     Section 7.  Court decisions shall be consistent with this Constitution, State traditions and customs, and the social and geographical configuration of the State.