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Nap Time!!!

Tuesday, October 24, 2006
Constructive criticism?

Now, if you want my ideas on what actually could be done, I'll do something rare and provide one, besides just pointing out why all other ideas suck. I should note, though, that I don't think the system failed at all this summer. I think it worked exactly as it was supposed to, and preserving the same fundamental structure would be fine with me. I also want to say that this idea also sucks in various ways, but it sucks somewhat less than the "iron fist of justice (as defined by us)" approach favored by Student Action.

Have a different body than the Judicial Council hear elections violation cases

There isn't a fundamental democratic reason why the Judicial Council needs to be the panel hearing elections violations. The Judicial Council is primarily formed to make sure government officials follow the rules they are bound by. This is an internal process, and I think it's significantly different than the external process of determining whether candidates have followed a set of rules.

Thus, a potential approach would be to name a different panel to hear election violation cases. This panel would not be responsible for making sure that any such convictions are consistent with the Constitution, but only to determine whether candidates have violated the bylaws. Then, if candidates feel like their rights have been violated somehow, they can appeal to the Judicial Council, which is responsible for making sure that this new panel followed the rules that it was bound by (i.e. an internal process), as well as checking to make sure those rules were consistent with the Constitution.

The biggest advantage here is that people are no longer appealing to the same panel which DQed them. This makes it hard to speculate about vast Judicial Council conspiracies demanding the introduction of immensely expensive lawyers.

The secondary, and more subtle, advantage is that the Judicial Council, which would no longer take on cases in which individual students are defendants, would no longer need to try to stick to a plaintiff-defendant structure where the defendant has special rights, since the defendant would always be a government official acting in some official capacity. For example, no longer could a government official violate the rules and then refuse to talk about it, citing a right to avoid self-incrimination, since the defendant is not the individual student, but the government authority she is exercising. This would make the Judicial Council a tool for students to protect their rights on an individual level from government abuse, and completely separate it from serving as a tool with which students can attack each other. (This advantage can be gained even without creating a new panel, by simply having a different set of rules for the Judicial Council to operate with for internal cases and elections cases.)

The biggest disadvantage, of course, is the political circus that would entail appointing such a panel. I don't really mind this too much, though, if it displaces the political circus surrounding Judicial Council appointments, since no one ever gets disqualified, so it hardly matters who is in charge of disqualifications. If, as a consquence of this, the Judicial Council becomes a less political body in terms of holding the ASUC to its own rules, I think this is a feature, not a bug.

The other disadvantage is finding people to do the job. Who would want it? I'm sure the Judicial Council would probably be happy to be able to avoid the job of hearing elections violations and dealing with the accompanying lawsuits, but finding Judicial Council members is hard enough as it is. Finding volunteers to serve as pincushions on this new panel might be pretty tough.

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 10/24/2006 10:43:00 PM #
Comments (3)
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At Davis, we have a hired elections committee, that among its duties to officiate and run the actual election, has primary jurisdiction over Bylaw violation pertaining to Elections. Our Supreme Court then has appellette jurisdiction, thus avoiding the Fiasco of hearing ones own appeal.

Because of the work involved vs what little political authority the committee wields, it has never become a politcal punching bag as it might be in some other arenas (The FEC comes to mind).

Just some thoughts from your neighbors to the north. Go Aggies!
Re: Justice Harney

Our elections committee has never been a punching bag? If not only because it doesn't put up much of a fight. It used to be known for turning a blind eye to elections violations perpetuated by the party they preferred -- then they got axed after Friends Urging Campus Kindness came to power (after they unsuccessfully tried to DQ sen Rob Roy). Then when the F.U.C.K. supported Committee tried to actually enforce regulations in last year's Unqualified Candidates Scandal, several members of the elections committee were called up for impeachment (as well as you and I of course).

But as to what Beetle was talking about, yeah I was glad to be rid of elections jurisdiction in our Court, though the EC obviously didn't do any better with it. Lets hope this two part system works better.

Also, Beetle, who appoints the Judicial Council chair currently?
The Judicial Council elects its own chair at the moment.
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