July 15, 2004 Dennis Archer, American Bar Association president, is expected to arrive on St. Thomas Thursday, and some hope he will comment on judicial issues facing the territory.
Amos Carty Jr., president of the Virgin Islands Bar Association, said Thursday's visit represents the first time a sitting president for the national association has called on the Virgin Islands. He also said Archer's visit is significant because the former Detroit mayor and chief justice of the Michigan Supreme Court is the first African American to lead the prestigious lawyers' group in the ABA's 125-year history.
"He has impeccable credentials that he brings to the field and has certainly had extraordinary leadership over the American Bar Association," Carty said. "What it means for the Virgin Islands Bar Association, I think, is that it opens significant doors because it brings the head of the largest voluntary legal organization to the territory and it gives him an understanding of some of the issues that we face here."
One of the issues currently under debate is the formation of a local appellate court. The prospects of creating a Virgin Islands Supreme Court was publicly aired last week at the Legislature. This week, Gov. Charles W. Turnbull expressed his support, reiterating earlier statements that the Virgin Islands is the last place under the U.S. flag where such an appellate court does not exist.
Carty said earlier this week he expects Archer will also prove supportive.
"One of the things that President Archer has advocated, not just in this term but certainly throughout his career, is an independent judiciary," Carty said. "The efforts to establish a Virgin Islands Supreme Court go to the core of the establishment of an independent local appellate judiciary here in the territory. It fits right into all the ideals he has advocated for many years."
The public may have a chance to hear some of those opinions as Archer makes his way across the territory this weekend.
Archer, along with his wife Trudy, is expected to arrive at Cyril E. King Airport Thursday. Carty is expected to be on hand to greet him. The local Bar Association has a number of events planned to honor the visitors. Archer is slated to be the guest of honor at a Friday luncheon at Marriott's Frenchman's Reef Resort. Later that day the Virgin Islands Bar Association will honor him at a private dinner hosted by the local group's board of governors.
On Saturday Archer is expected to travel to St. Croix for a reception at Government House.
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