Ep. 112 “The Rule of Law and Human Rights: The Dreams Vs. Reality” (hosted by Dr. Vivian Dames with production assistance by Joy White) was recorded 5/3/12 and airs 5/4/12.
This week Guam celebrates Law Day, May 1, a national day set aside to recognize the importance of the commitment to the rule of law. This year's Law Day theme is "No Courts, No Justice, No Freedom".
My program guest is Vice-Speaker and Retired Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Guam Benjamin J.F. ‘BJ’ Cruz. During his 30 years of public service he has held a number of important positions in all three branches of government which affords him a unique perspective on the development, implementation and practice of law in Guam. In addition to serving as Chief Justice, he also served as judge in the Superior Court of Guam where he presided over the Juvenile and Family Court for 10 years. He has served in the Executive branch as the federally appointed Commissioner of the Guam War Claims Review Commission; as Governor's Legal Counsel for Governor Ricardo J. Bordallo; as Director of the Guam Liaison Office, in Washington, D.C.; and Assistant Consumer Counsel at the Attorney General’s Office. In the Legislative branch, he served as Minority Legal Counsel for the 15th and 16th Legislature and is now a four -term senator and Vice-Speaker for the 31st Guam Legislature. Vice-Speaker Cruz received his Juris Doctor from the University of Santa Clara Law School in 1975, and a B.A.in Political Science & Economics from Claremont Men’s College in 1972.
In addition to public service and being involved in various civic and community organizations, he has been a stalwart advocate of the human rights of the indigenous peoples of the Pacific to self-determination. Cruz served as legal counsel/incorporator for the Organization of People for Indigenous Rights (OPI-R) and the PARA-PADA Coalition that opposed the adoption of the Guam Constitution. He also was a co-founder of the Nuclear-Free Micronesia Organization. While Superior Court Judge he penned two articles, “Human Rights: The Dreams Vs. Reality” and ‘Chamorro Voting Rights” which were later published by the Political Status Education Coordinating Committee in Hale’-ta, Hinasso’: (Insights: The Chamorro Identity),Vol. I. 1993 and inKinalamten Pulitikat: Sinenten I Chamorro (Issues in Guam's Political Development: The Chamorro Perspective), 1996, respectively. These articles serve as a touchstone for his reflections as a Chamorro-American on his journey into law and politics, the rule of law, human rights and the dream of political self-determination within the context of global US militarism.
Music selections are “We Shall Overcome” by The People’s Chorus and “The Impossible Dream” from Man of La Mancha as sung by Brian Stokes Mitchell in a Tribute to Ted Kennedy.