By Troy Torres
President Donald Trump today announced he will be appointing Superior Court Judge Maria Teresa Cenzon to be the next chief judge of the U.S. District Court of Guam.
If confirmed by the U.S. Senate before January, Ms. Cenzon will replace Frances Tydingco-Gatewood, whose term on the bench expired years ago.
Ms. Cenzon has been a local court judge since late 2012 after former Gov. Eddie Calvo appointed her to fill a vacancy left by the retirement of former Judge Elizabeth Barrett-Anderson. Prior to her appointment, she served as the governor's chief legal counsel and had been practicing law on Guam for 17 years by 2012, mostly in private practice.
She is a 1988 graduate of the Academy of Our Lady of Guam. She then went on to major in English and minor in business administration, criminology, and philosophy at Marquette University in Wisconsin in 1992. She earned her law degree in 1996 from Loyola University Chicago School of Law.
Ms. Cenzon was unanimously confirmed by the Guam Legislature to serve as a local court judge and was lauded in several local, national, and international publications for her achievements.
The question of who will replace Ms. Tydingco-Gatewood has raged for years. Former President Barack Obama nominated her for a second term in 2016, but the Senate refused to confirm her appointment. No one has been named since.
Ms. Cenzon is the local-born daughter of Philippine immigrants Ed and Nita Cenzon, who are originally from the Philippine province of Pampanga. Mr. Cenzon is fluent in the Chamorro language, and both her parents are staples in the Catholic community on Guam.
"The Filipino Community of Guam is proud to be in support of Judge Maria Cenzon’s nomination to the District Court of Guam," said Dr. Leah Beth Nahalowaa, a member of the Board of Trustees of the FCG. "She is hardworking and capable judge who will continue serving in the District Court of Guam."
The Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs in December 2012 under then-President Benigno Aquino III praised her appointment and confirmation to the local bench as the first Filipino-American/Guamanian to sit as Superior Court of Guam judge.
If confirmed, Ms. Cenzon will be the first Filipina to hold court on the federal bench in the Marianas.