Tuesday, May 23, 2006
By the way
In case you're wondering why I'm harping on this, it's not just because legal technicalities are fun. There are serious implications for the fairness and justice of future elections. Consider a hypothetical:
Candidate W is charged in front of five justices for some campaign violation.
Justices X, Y, and Z all hold that W violated the by-laws and should receive one censure, but for three different reasons, A, B and C.
How I would read the rule being discussed would be to consider the decisions as follows:
X: W violated the by-law for reason A
Y: W violated the by-law for reason B
Z: W violated the by-law for reason C
However, in light of the appeal denial, the way they should be considered is like this:
X: W violated the by-law, and
Reason A is true
Y: W violated the by-law, and
Reason B is true
Z: W violated the by-law, and
Reason C is true
And thus, the "narrowest grounds" is to rule that "W violated the by-law," but for no reason.
Already this is pretty silly, but there are practical realities now. Suppose a candidate next year wants to campaign, but doesn't want to violate this by-law. How does this candidate do it? Does she avoid satisfying reasons A, B, and C? Only two of the three? None of these reasons are reasons why W violated the by-law, after all. Where does this new candidate get her guidance? Apparently, the Judicial Council can declare candidates in violation of by-laws without any reason whatsoever.
These are real issues, and the Judicial Council does no one but itself a service by coming up with excuses that, in the short term, let the Judicial Council avoid having to go to another hearing, but in the long term, twist the rules by which the ASUC functions into a nonsensical, meaningless mess. Now would be the time to start impeaching justices (under Title XXI, Article II, Section 2.1.5), not when they happen to rule against you, and a loud constituency whines.
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