Late Chief Justice Arthur Ngirakelsong

Late Chief Justice Arthur Ngirakelsong is honored with Presidential Proclamation No. 22-333, conveying the nation’s gratitude for his contributions to the people of the Republic of Palau.  All flags are ordered to be flown Half-Staff in his honor.

The proclamation recognized late Chief Justice Ngirakelsong’s accomplishments and contributions to Palau and other Micronesian countries that benefited from Ngirakelsong’s education and talents.

In 1966, the late Chief Justice Ngirakelsong was awarded the John Hay Whitney Fellowship. In 1967 he graduated with a Master of Arts degree in Political Science from the University of Hawaii, and in 1974 he graduated from Rutgers University Law School, becoming one of the first Micronesians to earn a Juris Doctor.

He passed the bar exam and was licensed to practice law in Pennsylvania but chose to return to Micronesia to work as a staff attorney for the Micronesian Constitutional Convention.

He is credited as the primary author of the Bill of Rights of the Constitution of the Federated States of Micronesia. 

During his early career, he worked as legal counsel for the Congress of Micronesia and was honored in a resolution by the First Congress of the Federated States of Micronesia, according to the Presidential Proclamation.

His work across Micronesia, the late Chief Justice Ngirakelsong cultivated relationships with judges and attorneys across the region.

In 1986, he was asked by then-President Lazarus Salii to return home, where he was appointed Associate Justice of the Supreme Court.

The proclamation states that in his successful legal career, he authored “one of the most compelling concurring opinions in the history of Palau Judiciary.”

In the decision (ROP v. Ngiraboi, 2 ROP Intrm. 274, 1991), the late Chief Justice wrote…” I write separately to state that the Palau Constitution is the supreme law of the land and not inconsistent with the Trusteeship Agreement..I see the Constitution as perhaps the best living expression of what the people of Palau want…I accept and recognize, as I believe we must, the supremacy of the Palau Constitution…”

The late Chief Justice Ngirakelsong was appointed the second Chief Justice in 1991 by then-President Ngiratkel Etpison and went on to build up Palau’s Judiciary into one of the highly respected Judiciary – “locally, regionally and internationally.”

He served as Chairman of the Palau Judicial Nominating Commission, a member of the Board of Governors of the Pacific Judicial Council, and a representative of the Pacific Judicial Strengthening Initiative.  He served as Temporary Justice of the Supreme Court of the Federated States of Micronesia while Chief Justice of the Palau Supreme Court.

He is recognized as a “legendary” jurist and administrator, “ushering the judiciary into the internet age, making good his commitment to bring as much information as possible to the general public.”

The proclamation states that the late Chief Justice Arthur Ngirakelsong was “a true titan of the law and our island nation” and deserved to be honored as long as the nation endures…”

The late Chief Justice Arthur Ngirakelsong was born on February 28, 1941, to the late Ngiratebl Techeltoech and late Riuch Uchel and was adopted by his paternal grandparents Renguul Techeltoech and Ucheriang Ngirakelsong.  He was called to his eternal rest on November 16, 2022, at the age of 81.

“The people of the Republic of Palau express deep sadness for the passing of this outstanding citizen, the late Chief Justice Arthur Ngirakelsong, and further pay tribute to his family, community, and the people of the Republic of Palau for his long and distinguished service,” stated Presidential Proclamation No. 22-333.

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