It’s a historical moment in the Palau judiciary as two new associate justices were sworn in this morning to formally take their seat in the Appellate Division of the Palau Supreme Court.
Barrie Michelsen taking oath of office
President Tommy E. Remengesau Jr administered the oath separately to John K. Rechucher and Barrie Michelsen in Court Room 101 - the chief justice’s chamber.
Remengesau in his brief remark said that with the new justices, Palau stands to benefit from these two knowledgeable legal minds.
Following the oath-taking, Chief Justice Arthur Ngiraklsong called up a special session for the two new appellate court judges to take their seats with him in the appellate bench.
The 14th Amendment of the Palau Constitution passed in 2008 separate the judges of the trial and appellate divisions.
John Rechucher taking oath of office
In taking his seat, Rechucher becomes the third Palauan men to ascend to the Palau Supreme Court, following the late Chief Justice Mamoru Nakamura and the current Chief Justice Arthur Ngiraklsong.
“Ibedul, I would like to announce to you and the council of chiefs that Rechucher is no longer your friend,” Ngiraklsong said in jest to a burst of laughter in the room. To take up the associate justice position,
Rechucher had to vacate his top ranking traditional title, Beouch, of Ngardmau.
Barrie Michelsen served at one time as an associate justice of the Palau Supreme Court from 1996-2004.