Court to decide SG race
Since both tickets for student body president were disqualified, tonight the Student Government Supreme Court will take the first step toward determining a winner.
Thursday afternoon, presidential candidates Mike Berman and Omar Khan were disqualified for 10-point campaign violations.
After tonight, the SG Supreme Court will have 48 hours to determine the validity of the violations.
Yolanda Best, director of the Election Rules Committee, said, in order to avoid a biased decision, it is going to be determined whether justices had personal contact with the candidates before the case is assigned to the Supreme Court. However, Best said she was not certain if SG would follow through with those procedures.
SG representatives refuse to release the election results, saying it would cause justices to be biased. Assistant general counsel Keith Hauger said he did not want to give permission to release the records in order to avoid contradicting another counsel’s decision.
The SG Supreme Court includes seven student justices who were appointed by current student body president Mike Griffin.
Dustin Sachs, chief justice of the SG Supreme Court, said all the justices would continue to work on the case, unless someone provides evidence proving that any of the justices are biased.
“If there are allegations made whether someone is biased, anybody, either of the candidates or any student for that matter, brings any evidence (of unfair behavior) to the court, all of that information would be turned over to a committee which deals with such matters,” Sachs said.
Sachs said the committee includes executive branch and senate members who would determine whether the allegations are true.
Sachs said he and Berman, who is SG Senate president, have a working relationship from previously serving in SG together. However, Sachs said he didn’t feel the need to remove himself from the case.
“I haven’t heard any allegations of any justices being biased,” Sachs said. “If allegations are made and are proven, then that person would be removed according to the rules that are established by Student Government.”
The meeting, which is open to the public, will take place in the Marshall Center at 7 tonight, in room 271.
“We would hear everything that we need to hear, and then we would have up to 48 hours to make a decision,” Sachs said. “The decision cannot be made earlier than 12 hours after the meeting.”
According to the current regulations, if one of the justices is removed for any reason, the decision would be made based on the remaining justices.
“We do conduct a full trial no different from the real government,” Sachs said. “What we are going to consider and not going to consider would be determined by the justices.”
David Armstrong, business manager of SG, said the justices are required by their own procedures and rules to remain unbiased when it comes to making a decision.
“What they are going to be required to do is make a decision based on the facts that are brought before them and to leave out any personal opinions or biases,” Armstrong said.
Armstrong added that the justices know both presidential candidates.
“Obviously (the justices) do know Mike Berman, but they also know, I believe, Omar and Ryan (Morris’) campaign workers, as well,” Armstrong said. “If anybody suspects them of being biased in some way or in some decision, they would ask for the justices to remove himself or herself from the position.”
Armstrong said if a bias is determined and a justice refuses to remove him or herself, there is a procedure the court follows.
“A committee of senators and executives would determine if a justice is being biased,” Armstrong said. “The judicial would not determine that.”
Armstrong said according to the ERC schedule, the announcement of the unofficial results may or may not be made immediately following the vote. He added that SG would not release the results because they are not yet official.
“And it won’t become official until after the court determines whether or not the disqualifications are valid,” Armstrong said.