The Supreme Court is the highest court in the land. Other courts include the National Court and the lower court system, consisting of the Court of Common Pleas and the Land Court. Court appointments are for life. In October, 1990 US Interior Secretary Manuel Lujan issued an order granting the Interior Department in Washington the power to veto laws and reverse decisions by Palau's courts. This reassertion of legal authority by the United States was partially in response to the decade of unsuccessful negotiations concerning a plan for eventual self-government.
The constitution provides for an independent judiciary and the government respects this provision in practice. Palau has an independent prosecutor and an independent public defender system.