Faleapuna lawyer, appointed as Judge Pro-tempore in Am. Samoa


A successful lawyer who grew up in Apia with her grandmother has been appointed as Judge Pro-tempore in American Samoa.

Lornalei Meredith was named one of the three new temporary judges on the District Court panel, including Aitofele Sunia and Jon Clemens.

She is the second daughter of Gwendolyn Ho Ching of Nu’uuli and Daniel Meredith of Faleapuna Samoa, Nua and Se’etaga Am. Samoa; and is married to Malaeimi Fanene. 

In a brief interview with Radio Polynesia, Meredith is honoured for the opportunity.

“I am honoured to have the opportunity to serve the Territory of American Samoa and its people in this capacity.

“As a fortunate recipient of an American Samoa Government scholarship for my educational pursuits, accepting this appointment is the least I can do to give back to the Government and community.”

A member of the ASCC Class of 2005, Ms Meredith is the founder and owner of the local law firm Meredith Law.

Meredith spent most of her time in Apia with her paternal grandmother Lemalie, who spoke very little English but imparted upon her the values of perseverance, hard work, service and attaining a good education.

Governor Lemanu Peleti Mauga made the submission for the District Court judges pro tempore to the Senate for confirmation, with the nominations the letter from Chief Justice Lealaialoa Michael Kruse.

“These appointments would once again reinstate our complement of pro temp judges to three to assist in the District Court as needed.

“Previously, we had counsels Roy J.D. Hall, Jr., Fiti A. Sunia and Gwen Tauiliili-Langkilde serving as judges pro tempore, while in private practice.

“Counsel Hall resigned his commission in 2018 while judges pro tempore Sunia and Tauiliili-Langkilde have both been elevated to the bench with permanent commissions to the High Court and District Court respectively.

“Budget-wise, these appointments would not entail additional revenue as the judiciary’s annual budget has included provision for our judges pro temp, who are only paid pro-rata when sitting as assigned.”

Samoa News reported the Chief Justice was sympathetic with attorneys in private practice having to serve simultaneously on the bench.

“Having previously served as the first District Court judge pro tempore from 1979, I am sensitive to the competing needs of our pro tem judges’ respective law offices when taking time off from private practice to serve on the bench.

“The prohibition against practising law while actually sitting by designation applies equally to pro temp judges. A.S.C.A S 3.1009.

“Thus, the pro tempore appointments permit an added measure of flexibility to both the court and counsel.”

Speaking about the three attorneys, the CJ said, “Each nominee for your consideration is a product of our local primary and secondary education system, culminating in an ASG scholarship award that facilitated their pursuit of off-island undergraduate studies.”

“From my observation and interactions with counsel as practicing attorneys, American Samoa Bar Association officers, and members of the Chief Justice’s Admissions Committee, I am satisfied that each nominee has the learning and capacity. diligence and commitment, as well as the character and temperament, to serve as a valued addition to the bench of American Samoa.”

Only Senate confirmation is required for judges.