Petition urges naming of federal courthouse after longtime judge

Then-federal Judge John Unpingco

The late federal Judge John Unpingco’s family has started a petition to ask Guam’s delegate to Congress to introduce legislation that would rename the federal courthouse in his honor.

You may access and sign the petition by clicking here.

Mr. Unpingco died October 11, 2023, leaving behind a loving family, a distinguished career in the military and in his practice of law and as a judge, and as a public servant.

His son Mark Unpingco wrote the following in the petition that calls on James C. Moylan to introduce legislation in the House that will name the federal courthouse in Anigua after the late judge:

We respectfully request your assistance in petitioning Congressman James C. Moylan to introduce a bill to formally name the District Court of Guam Courthouse after the late Judge Johnny Sablan Unpingco.

Johnny Sablan Unpingco was a judge for the U.S. District Court of Guam from December 22,1992 to April 30, 2004. During his twelve-year tenure, Johnny accomplished the insurmountable task of constructing a United States Courthouse Building. The District Court of Guam had not had its own building since 1974 (perhaps even earlier) and Johnny was the first district court judge that recognized and proactively addressed this issue. Johnny worked tirelessly for eight years to ensure the construction of a new; over $20 million; state-of-the-art courthouse, that was finished on July 5, 2000 and dedicated a month later.

In addition to improving and modernizing the court’s physical structure, Johnny Sablan Unpingco also effectively expanded the court’s legal authority and jurisdiction. Having noticed that Congress had inadvertently omitted Guam from the Federal Magistrates Act (28U.S.C.§631), Johnny aggressively lobbied Congress for Guam’s inclusion. After five years of advocating, Johnny successfully established a full-time magistrate judge position on February 6, 2004, with the swearing-in of the U.S. Magistrate Judge Joaquin V.E. Manibusan, Jr.

Accomplishing these unprecedented achievements and many others, in addition to his regular judicial duties and responsibilities, makes Johnny Sablan Unpingco the strongest and most appropriate candidate to have the District Court of Guam Courthouse named after.

We only request a little of your time and support to properly recognize a native son and public servant of Guam. Nothing else! (i.e. Please do not donate any money)! We humble ask that you sign & share this petition.

You can show your support to name the District Court of Guam Courthouse after Johnny Sablan Unpingco, by signing this petition, or by contacting Congressman James C. Moylan’s office ( directly, via either of his addresses listed below.

  • 1628 Longworth Building, Washington, D.C. 20515 — Phone:(202) 225-1188
  • 330 Hernan Cortez Ave, Hagatna Guam 96915 — Phone: (671) 922-6673

Si Yu’us Ma’åse for your time and consideration!


  • CNMI Lawyer

      05/14/2024 at 10:58 PM

    What about the Honorable Cristobal C. Dueñas, who served from 1969 to 1991, and was the first Chamorro federal judge?

    He was a legend, an icon, the epitome of fair and impartial justice.

    • Yes, what about the Honorable Cristobal. Does it not look petty for the family to seek for this recognition. I’m ashamed.

      • Honoring one person does not mean that others can not be honored as well. If such were the case, then there wouldn’t be any monuments and memorials to numerous presidents, congressman, and soldiers in Washington DC and elsewhere. The same could also be said about Guam, if not for the negativity. Instead of viewing this petition as a “zero sum game” in which someone must lose for another to succeed, we should be uniting. This effort could pave the way for honoring Judge Duenas, as well as Guahan’s numerous other sons and daughters who should also be recognized, but we don’t get there tho by putting others down.

        “The high tide raises all ships in the harbor” -JFK

        Biba Guahan!

  • Alan San Nicolas

      05/16/2024 at 7:27 AM

    Ti baba, na namagof yanggen ma sidi (aprueba) I finaisen niha. Lao gof hasso na seimpre un manggafa (familia) meggai (bula) guinaiya yan minagof. I otru na manggafa (familia) seimpre man lalalo yan man piniti. AFAÑELOS ESTA I OTRU BIRADA

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