May 15, 2023

Professor Burch Wins in Both the FSM Supreme Court and the ROP Supreme Court


Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School (AJMLS) Professor Kathleen Burch, whose work in Micronesia has spanned more than 20 years, won cases in the Appellate Division of both the Supreme Court of the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) and the Supreme Court of the Republic of Palau (ROP), the highest courts of those countries. In Paul v. Lambert, Professor Burch represented Senator Esmond Moses, the Real Party in Interest, defending his FSM citizenship and qualifications to be elected to the FSM Congress. Thirty days before the election, the FSM Supreme Court Appellate Division issued its opinion adopting the arguments made by Professor Burch that the citizenship provisions of the FSM Constitution must be interpreted according to FSM law and that Senator Moses had fulfilled the citizenship requirements of the FSM Constitution. Not only did Senator Moses’ name remain on the ballot, he won the election, has been seated in the FSM Congress, and recently was elected Speaker of the 23rd FSM Congress.

Professor Burch represented the Republic of Palau in Republic of Palau v. Ngatpang State Public Lands Authority and Estate of Myla Mira v. Republic of Palau. In both cases, the ROP Supreme Court Appellate Division held that sovereign immunity barred the claims brought against the Republic of Palau. These cases contribute to the needed and now growing jurisprudence of the Republic of Palau.

Professor Burch joined the AJMLS faculty in 2003, and in addition to guiding students through the Micronesian Externship Program, she has taught courses such as Civil Liberties Seminar; Civil Procedure I and II; Constitutional Law I and II; Education Law; Legal Drafting; Legislation; Micronesian Externship Program; Trial Advocacy; Art of Advocacy; The Making of the Constitution; and Law and Religion.