April 21, 1996 – March 15, 1997
Justice Monessa G. Lujan was sworn into I Kotten Mas Takhelo Guåhan on April 21, 1996 and served until her untimely death on March 15, 1997. Prior to her appointment, Justice Lujan spent eleven years in private practice in partnership with her father, the late Frank G. Lujan and then later with Anita C. Sukola. As a private practioner, she served as legal counsel for various legislative committees and government of Guam agencies, including the Chamorro Land Trust Commission, the Guam Preservation Trust, the Guam Mass Transit Authority and the Port Authority of Guam. She also served as legal counsel and member of the Board of Directors for Sanctuary, Inc., a non-profit organization dedicated to helping the island’s troubled youth and their families.
The oldest of four children born to former Senators Frank G. Lujan and Pilar C. Lujan, Justice Lujan was raised on Guam and graduated from John F. Kennedy High School. She received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science with honors from Tufts University, Boston Massachusetts in 1980, and concurrent Master of Arts degree in International Affairs from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy. In 1984, she received her law degree from Boalt Hall School of Law at the University of California, Berkeley.
Justice Lujan’s paternal grandfather, Francisco G. Lujan, served as a judge in the Island Court of Guam until his retirement. Her paternal uncle, David J. Lujan, is also a practicing attorney on Guam.
Justice Lujan is to be recognized and admired for her accomplishments as an attorney. As an active member of the bar and various community and civic organizations during most of her life, she received several awards which included a legislative resolution, “Recognition for Achievement as a Woman in Business” in 1986 and an “Outstanding Young Women of America” award in 1988.
As a lawyer, she knew the importance of a local court interpreting local laws and as a Justice, her duty in shaping the Judiciary of Guam. She visualized a unified Judiciary, co-equal to the Legislative and Executive branches, free of partisan politics and guided by impartiality and integrity. Her dedication to the Kotten Mas Takhelo Guåhan was obvious in her efforts to ensure that the court was ready to hear appeals and assume its full jurisdiction pursuant to the Frank G. Lujan Memorial Court Reorganization Act of 1993. Her father had authored the first legislative bill creating the Court Reorganization Act in 1974. Her mother, former Senator Pilar C. Lujan, was the principal sponsor of the Frank G. Lujan Memorial Court Organization Act of 1993.
Justice Lujan continued on with her work knowing her life might be brief and that the energies she directed to Kotten Mas Takhelo Guåhan could limit her time. With her passing, her work with the court serves as a moral and intellectual inspiration to all Justices, jurists and attorneys, as well as an example of committed sacrifice for public servants and citizens.