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By Malou Sayson

KOROR, Palau (August 1, 2000 - Palau Horizon/PINA Nius Online)---President Kuniwo Nakamura has appointed Kathleen M. Salii as new Associate Justice of the Palau Supreme Court.

Salii is the first female Palauan justice nominated to the Supreme Court, following the resignation of Associate Justice Jeffrey Beattie in late May.

Nakamura said in a letter to Salii: "After careful review and consideration it is my privilege to offer you the appointment as Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the Republic of Palau."

"With this appointment you have the opportunity to serve as an invaluable role model for our youth and to reinforce the message that Palauans are progressing towards complete self reliance in their governance."

It was only Salli who survived a very tight screening of nominees to the Supreme Court by the six-man Judicial Nominating Commission.

The commission was headed by Chief Justice Arthur Niraklsong.

After conducting a search of possible candidates, including on the United States mainland, the commission selected a list of seven finalists from 154 local and foreign applicants.

The president told the chief justice in a letter that with Salii's appointment "we are advancing the cause of our national self-reliance and continuing process of placing citizens of Palau in the highest offices of our republic."

House Speaker Ignacio Anastacio was also pleased.

He said: "This absolutely signifies the political and judicial maturity of the republic in that Kate is the first female Palauan justice ever appointed to our Supreme Court.

"She deserves it and the country will benefit from her invaluable legal talent and experience. We are certainly moving towards true self governance by placing our people in key government posts."

Salli, the daughter of the late President Ngiratkel Salii and Christina Salii, earned her law degree from the University of Denver College of Law and her Bachelor's Degree in English from University of Hawai‘i.

She worked as an acting attorney general with the task of supervising seven staff attorneys and three support staff in 1998 and represented the national government in a wide variety of legal matters.

This included drafting and promulgating rules and regulations for various government agencies and charging criminal cases.

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