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Nap Time!!!

Friday, March 13, 2009

The Daily Cal spreads plenty of blame around, and makes the interesting accusation that Moghtader withheld the video for the purpose of allowing the SJP folks to spread their libel in order to enable a lawsuit. It's a speculative accusation, though, and appears to be unfounded in anything but guesswork.

They publish a story where they ask last year's Attorney General, Alex Kozak, about it (he agrees with me that the Judicial Council has no authority to overturn the recall). Former Judicial Council Chair Bobby Gregg is a bit more realistic, recognizing that, strictly speaking, the Judicial Council can do whatever the hell it wants.

By the way, despite my strong belief that the Judicial Council would be vastly overstepping their bounds to overturn the recall based on Sinanian's charge sheet, I expect them to do so.

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 3/13/2009 01:49:00 AM #
Comments (16)
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I was the most rule obsessed hardass the ASUC ever saw, and even I would be hard pressed not to come up with a ruling that bent the rules and tossed the recall (assuming the video totally obliterates the SJP claims, which I'm not sure it does). Sometimes there are situations in the ASUC where where someone hijacks the game, and just like your parents did when your older brother screwed you in Monopoly because he was older and more experienced, someone has to come in and set things right. This should only be done in extreme situations, and deciding what is "extreme" is obviously left in the eye of the individual Council members. I get that this means they only check on their power is their conscience and open to abuse. But this is nothing new. Lets hope the Senate confirmed good people.

BTW, if I were to toss the recall, I'd do it by first throwing out the cap on what constitutes an equitable remedy. Either the Council has the discretion to be fair, or it doesn't. It's BS that the Council can only scale punishments down (which obviously benefits the parties) but can't scale them up (which obviously also benefits the parties). I'd say this conflicts with the inherent judicial authority of the Council, and order the cap be stricken as unconstitutional. Then I'd give the proponents five censures for lying in the voter's guide, or maybe just outright DQ them.

~Mike Davis
The problem is that the wrongdoing here is so much more political than legal. Bullshitting in the Voters' Guide is a political tradition, and SQUELCH! is in serious trouble if it really does get punished.

I don't see the Judicial Council having an overarching responsibility to remedy injustices. I see their responsibility to be remedying violations of the rules, so if the video shows the Voters Guide statement was false, I don't believe they should be remedying beyond the damage done by the Voters Guide statement. How much damage was that? Would that statement not being present have changed the result? Obviously, we don't know these things, which is why we have a censure system. But the publicity campaign was already overwhelming, and I'm not sure the Voters Guide made much difference.

But even if we step away from the specific rules, I don't think the Judicial Council should step in.

What I see is Sinanian trying to correct for Moghtader's terrible campaign strategy of not actually trying to win the recall. When a person is being recalled for some reason, that person normally defends himself by showing that the recall reasons are false. Moghtader chose not to do so. If this video really is so devastating that it would've turned the election, then showing it would have won the election for him.

But there's also the possibility that this video would not have changed the election outcome. We don't really know why people voted to recall him, and voters are free to vote for whatever reason they want. Moghtader, after all, claimed that he was being recalled for his beliefs, not for anything he did. The video wouldn't change that. If he gets the Judicial Council to overturn the recall based on the video, he gets a victory even if the video wouldn't have changed the recall result. Convincing the Judicial Council shouldn't be an alternative to convincing the electorate.
I agree with you both. However, there is also the issue that the video should not be able to be used as evidence unless it is submitted to the judicial council, in its entity. Given the judical council is an open body, that would mean letting the student body see it as well.

The existence of a video would even then not necessarily be 100 percent conclusive, due to duration, quality (is it from a cell phone? can people be clearly identified? does it show the whole event?) And even then, does that invalidate the election.. as the petition never cited the assault?

To allow "secret video tapes" to be put into evidence is sketchy at best. If it does exist, why wasn't it uploaded to youtube BEFORE the election?
I'm not sure how you can agree with us both. You think the recall election should both be overturned and not be overturned?

The Judicial Council can probably assert the authority to restrict viewing of the video, though if it were up to me, I'd expect a better explanation than the bullshit Moghtader's been giving so far. But I don't believe they can do so to the point where even the defense can't see it, so if their concern is they don't want the people they plan on suing to know what's on the video, I don't see an opportunity.
people they plan on suing will see the video eventually anyway. it's called DISCOVERY. so there's no point in keeping it secret unless as the daily cal says he wants people to continue to make libelous statements. won't matter, because even if they're guilty of libel, damages will be mitigated by the fact that he could have prove all the charges to be false months ago. sounds like moghtader has a shitty lawyer.
I don't care a wit one way or the other about this John character or what he should have done. If I were still on the Council I'd be more concerned with the damage done to the ASUC and the students than to John's reputation or whatever. That's what I was referring to when I said sometimes the J Council has to stop people from hijacking the game, or reverse what they've done. My motivation for tossing the recall would be more aimed at punishing folks who abused the ASUC system and effectively stole student money for their own political goals. ASSUMING the tape shows they lied (and as I said before, I'm not sure that it does), they should never have pursued the recall option to begin with. I would have no problem reversing it and setting them up to take the blame. This also sets a precedent that if you're going to exercise the recall option you better not be screwing with us, because if you are the J Council will undo your work and you'll look like a douche.
the burden with libel isn't on the victim. that is to say, the burden isn't on the person who hears libel against him to disprove the libel. the mistake was made by the person who made the libel originally and they are guilty of that crime (which includes hurting the victim's reputation) whether or not the victim does everything he can to disprove the libel or save his reputation.
john wont even win lawyers fees because of this fuck up
Anonymous 2:00 PM, yes, that's right, as to the foundations for a claim of libel.

However, as to damages for said libel, or for charges of infliction of emotional distress, you're missing the nuances of the law.

Think of it this way: the court is not going to pay for a party's injuries if they intentionally expose themselves to more harm. In this case, the victim could have taken steps to prevent future harm at several points through the months-long process. No judge is going to reward behavior that encourages individuals to shun self-remedies.
I think that John has already remedied his reputation, for the most part. However, we still need to make an example out of those people who thought they could get away with spreading lies. Even if John had released the tape immediately after the first lie was published, he would still be justified in suing that person for libel.
I think you have it backwards. If he had released the video immediately after the first lie was published, he would not merely "still be justified in suing," he would have a much stronger case. The damages would be less, of course, but that's the point: He made no effort to mitigate damage.
Michael, you and your god complex are wrong, but I love you anyway.

Putting aside the question of whether the video proves that John isn't a total douche bag (not possible...sue me, I dare you) your argument is that at some point the JCouncil can put aside rules and standards to set a situation "right." That is le bullshit.

Your argument assumes that the JCouncil is somehow better and wiser than your regular ASUC kiddos. ASUC kiddos suck, but the JCouncil's judgment is anything but beyond reproach. Some of them are super tools--I'm looking at you Kate Feng or whatever your name was. Point being, they're not wise and grizzled and they don't necessarily know what's best...and sometimes are in a party's pocket.

The Council is no better than anyone else and shouldn't be afforded extra-constitutional authority. Their "set the situation right" judgment has sucked in the past, otherwise I would have gotten to rock that Presidential title for several months longer. And as I recall, you weren't that thrilled when Misha compromised with DAAP on the JCouncil's behalf.

Point being, the system is as it is for a reason. No one gets to play the god card, and that's the way it should be. I think Beetle is correct about the function of the council.

We have to stop meeting like this...
Misha didn't make the deal with DAAP, they wanted nothing more than to be out of the election and continue their suit in big people court. To get DAAP back in the election, and undermine their entire reason for suing us, Misha made the deal with me. He issued an executive order re-writing a bylaw (!), and the Judicial Council upheld it (!!). Who do you think actually put pen to paper and wrote the executive order? Who do you think actually put pen to paper and wrote the opinion upholding it? Who do you think actually put pen to paper and un-DQed DAAP?

The very simple fact is the ASUC game does have some god cards floating around. Or as Beetle says, in his deftly dour manner, "strictly speaking, the Judicial Council can do whatever the hell it wants." And, as usual, he's right. For better or worse, whether they should be or not, these god cards have been built into the system. The question is not about the legitimacy of their play, but who will play them. Yes, a very few Council members--and very far between--have had party loyalties, but in my experience it has never been as strong as party members themselves. Add to that, their loyalties usually don't last longer than an election cycle, when all their friends who got them their seat are no longer in office and their colleagues, who remember their misdeeds, are. This length of term also means they have far more institutional memory within their much smaller (and easier to manage) bit of the ASUC sandbox, which means, though they may not be old and grizzled, they are much wiser and more effective in the exercise of their power than are the parties. I admit that you (also as usual) are right, I do assume the Council is better than everyone else. In my time, we were.

In the everyday routine of the ASUC, I completely agree with you and Beetle about the Council's role and its restraint. I think you'll agree that no one did it better than I did. But there are times you have to say to hell with the rules and just do what is right and what protects the ASUC. The system isn't perfect, which is why you have people, also imperfect, administering it. When done right you get closer to perfection than either working alone.

And I was mildly thrilled with the DAAP compromise. The reason is the rest of the story. I'll tell you over a beer sometime.
I must keep better tack of who was pissed about what. Or get new friends with whom conversations and facebook feeds don't devolve into ASUC chatter.

Point being, sure the council can do whatever it wants because they're the final word on what does and doesn't happen and the only check is removing council members, which doesn't change the outcome. That doesn't mean that they should play the god card, particularly when the suit/argument/etc they use to do so is at conflict with the rules and/or common sense.

Assuming the council is always better because you were is a bad plan. It would be like Ben and I assuming the John isn't a fanatical shit for brains because S! under us (or better still those who preceded us) was rockin. The point of rules and systems is that it's not supposed to be subjective based on the character of those executing them.

Also, admittedly, I haven't been keeping the closest of eyes on the situation, but is allowing John to be recalled a threat to the system? He's litigious to be sure, but it seems to be directed more at Dina & Co. I think if a god card is to be used--which I still don't think it should--the standard for playing it has to be a threat to the system, not moral outrage.

Anyways, I will always take beer off of you--4Ps (Cleveland Park)tonight? Celebrate the holiday? Beetle, hop a plane, you can come too.
Get new friends and do what, gossip about things going on inside the Beltway? Pfzzt, boooooring.

Initiating recalls willy nilly and spending cash like we were propping up AIG is the threat to the system I'm talking about. I'm glad they're making it more difficult to do, but that doesn't mean the Council isn't justified in whacking the ne'erdowells that were assholes to begin with, and making everyone aware that if you screw with the ASUC, don't think you can hide behind the rules. The god cards are gonna screw you back. Now, being justified doesn't mean the Council has to, or even that they should (see above about needing good people to make the decision). It just means my normally uncompromising adherence to the rules as written has no a problem bending a rule here.

"To state the question more directly: are all the laws but one to go unexecuted and the Government itself go to pieces lest that one be violated?"

Just sayin...

Also, Beetle, you should come out here at some point. I really would like to meet you one day.
Spending cash willy nilly, and bullshitting in order to do it, seems like business as usual in the ASUC. This doesn't strike me as all that different from the 3rd consecutive "we have to raise fees to fund SUPERB or it won't be around next year!" referendum. Considering how badly the recall seems to have blown up in the face of those who pushed it, I don't think there's much of a threat to the system here.

I wish it had occurred to me to look you guys up when I went to D.C.
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