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On March 13, 2003, the appellant, Jack Fritz, filed his Notice of Appeal from the National Election Directorís March 11, 2003 rejection of his petition to set aside the election results for failing
[11 FSM Intrm. 444]
to meet the statutory filing deadline set out in 9 F.S.M.C. 902. On March 20, 2003, the court ordered that the appellant, Jack Fritz, and the respondent, National Election Director, to each file briefs on whether the petition was timely filed with the National Election Director. They were also invited to express their views on what jurisdiction the court has, and what issues it may decide, and what procedure it might use if the petition was not timely. The real party in interest, Redley Killion, was invited, but not required, to file his brief on the same topics.
On March 20, 2003, the National Election Director filed his Motion to Dismiss the Appeal as Moot or to Remand, with supporting attachments and affidavit, and on March 21, 2003, he filed his brief in response to the courtís order. Also on March 21, 2003, the real party in interest, Redley Killion, filed his own motion to dismiss. Jack Fritz filed his brief on the timeliness issue on March 24, 2003. Also on March 24, 2003, Killion filed his brief in response to the courtís order.
On March 20, 2003, the Director issued his Amended Decision on Petition to Set Aside Election Results (attached as Exhibit D to the March 20th motion). In that amended decision the Director determined that Fritzís allegations were reviewable under 9 F.S.M.C. 906 and that under section 906 Fritzís petition was timely. The amended decision addressed and ruled on all of Fritzís allegations.
This appeal is from the Directorís March 10th decision rejecting Fritzís petition as untimely. This appeal is not from the Directorís March 20th amended decision. Thus the sole issue before us was whether the Directorís March 11th rejection of Fritzís petition as untimely was in compliance with the applicable statute. The only relief we could have granted in this appeal would have been to vacate the Directorís March 10th denial, remand the matter to the Director, and order the Director to consider Fritzís petition on the merits. The Director himself has resolved this one issue in Fritzís favor and considered and ruled on the petitionís merits.
There is thus no further relief that we could grant in this appeal that the Director has not already granted. If an appellate court finds that any relief it could grant would be ineffectual, it must treat the case as moot. FSM v. Louis, 9 FSM Intrm. 474, 482 (App. 2000); see also Berman v. FSM Supreme Court (II), 7 FSM Intrm. 11, 16 (App. 1995). Article XI, section 6 of the Constitution restricts our jurisdiction to actual cases and disputes. Louis, 9 FSM Intrm. at 481. We are thereby precluded from making pronouncements on the basis of hypothetical, abstract, or academic issues or when the matter is moot. Id. at 481-82. Any opinion we would render would be merely an advisory opinion. An appellate court does not sit to render decisions on abstract legal propositions or advisory opinions. Accordingly, we are without jurisdiction to decide this issue and this appeal is hereby dismissed as moot.
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