Tuesday, May 23, 2006
As everyone pretty much expected, the Judicial Council rejected Ben's appeal. I might have, too, but the grounds for rejection are pretty silly.
Amaris White and Marisa Cuevas agreed that the Marks' rule had been misapplied, as I did:
We believe that the Judicial Council did not use the most conservative reason, but the most conservative remedy, and that for this reason the use of Mark's Rule is inappropriate.
The rest of the council: Sonya Banerjee, Robert Gregg, Stephanie Lam, Carmel Levitan, and Kate Feng, decided to deny the appeal on some strange grounds. Note that neither opinion addressed the explicit, unquestionable violation of the JRPs in refusing to actually state what rationale was used in the original decision.
From the appeal denial:
It can be argued that a continuum must exist between narrow and broad interpretational viewpoints, and that the Marks rule mandates the adoption of the narrowest concurring viewpoint.
Again, from the JRPs:
According to the "Marks" rule, "when a fragmented [Council] decides a case and no single rationale explaining the result enjoys the assent of [a majority of the Justices], 'the holding of the [Council] may be viewed as that position taken by those Justices who concurred in the judgments on the narrowest grounds.'" In the final decision, the Council shall state the narrowest rationale for the decision.
Note that this definition only discusses "rationale," not "viewpoint" in general. Again from the decision:
However, the majority of the Council feels that the narrowest grounds of agreement, as stated in the decision, is the fact that violations did occur, which does encompass both viewpoints.
There's nothing narrow about "a violation has occured." That's the largest amount of agreement, but it's not even "grounds" at all.
The fact that violation was established is justification for the maximum amount of censures agreed upon by the majority of the Council.
There is absolutely no justification for this comment. None. I can't even argue against it because of how out-of-left-field it is.
JRP 220.127.116.11 does not explicitly state that the majority of the Council must agree on a system to allocate censures, because if the Council were to have agreed on a methodology to allocate censures in the ASUC Exec. Slate case, then there would have been a majority opinion and the Marks Rule would not have been used at all.
It does, however, say explicitly that the majority of the Council must agree on any decision, and the number of censures is no exception. The use of "narrow grounds" is one approach to get to this majority opinion.
Overall, a very disappointing performance by the Judicial Council on this case. We shouldn't read decisions that look like they involve the Judicial Council twisting and turning in order to get a particular result (in this case, avoid another hearing). They certainly shouldn't look like excuses.
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