Article 1: Political Relationship


  • Case Annotations: Sablan v. Inos, 3 N.M.I. 418--433; Sablan v. Tenorio, 4 N.M.I. 351-- 361.


Section 101The Northern Mariana Islands upon termination of the Trusteeship Agreement will become a self-governing commonwealth to be known as the "Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands", in political union with and under the sovereignty of the United States of America.


  • Case Annotations: Sablan v. Inos, 2 N.M.I. 388--394; Reyes v. Ebeteur, 2 N.M.I. 418--429, 430; Sablan v. Tenorio, 4 N.M.I. 351--361, 370.


Section 102The relations between the Northern Mariana Islands and the United States will be governed by this Covenant which, together with those provisions of the Constitution, treaties and laws of the United States applicable to the Northern Mariana Islands, will be the supreme law of the Northern Mariana Islands.


  • Case Annotations: Wabol v. Villacrusis, 1 N.M.I. 34--40; Sablan v. Inos, 2 N.M.I. 388-- 395; Sablan v. Inos, 3 N.M.I. 418--426.


Section 103The people of the Northern Mariana Islands will have the right of local self- government and will govern themselves with respect to internal affairs in accordance with a Constitution of their own adoption.


  • Case Annotations: Commonwealth v. Bordallo, 1 N.M.I. 208--213; Sablan v. Inos, 2 N.M.I. 388--394, 396, 397; Sablan v. Inos, 3 N.M.I. 418--430, 431, 434; Sablan v. Tenorio, 4 N.M.I. 351-- 371.


Section 104The United States will have complete responsibility for and authority with respect to matters relating to foreign affairs and defense affecting the Northern Mariana Islands.


  • Case Annotations: Sablan v. Inos, 2 N.M.I. 388--396.


Section 105The United States may enact legislation in accordance with its constitutional processes which will be applicable to the Northern Mariana Islands, but if such legislation cannot also be made applicable to the several States the Northern Mariana Islands must be specifically named therein for it to become effective in the Northern Mariana Islands. In order to respect the right of self-government guaranteed by this Covenant the United States agrees to limit the exercise of that authority so that the fundamental provisions of this Covenant, namely Articles I, II and III and Sections 501 and 805, may be modified only with the consent of the Government of the United States and the Government of the Northern Mariana Islands.


  • Case Annotations: Wabol v. Villacrusis, 1 N.M.I. 34--42; Vaughn v. Bank of Guam, 1 N.M.I. 160--168; Aldan-Pierce v. Mafnas, 2 N.M.I. 122--132, 133 (1991), rev'd, 31 F.3d 756 (9th Cir. 1994), cert. denied, 513 U.S. ___, 115 S. Ct. 913, 130 L. Ed. 2d 794 (1995); Sablan v. Inos, 2 N.M.I. 388--396, 397; Sablan v. Inos, 3 N.M.I. 418--432, 433; Sablan v. Tenorio, 4 N.M.I. 351--361, 376