The Student Government (SG) senate unanimously confirmed a new chief justice at Tuesday’s senate meeting after the supreme court functioned for nearly six months without one.
Kristen Corpion, a senior double majoring in political science and anthropology, replaced Sarah Heikkinen, who served as acting chief justice since April.
“I feel like I have a lot of work to do, but I’m excited about the position,” said Corpion, who has no prior experience in SG.
As chief justice, Corpion oversees SG’s judicial branch. Corpion said she wants to educate students on issues like parking services.
SG adviser Gary Manka said Heikkinen is now senior justice of SG’s supreme court.
“As a result of (Heikkinen) being the senior member (of the court), she is the senior justice … which is the second in command,” Manka said.
In April, the SG senate voted to impeach Heikkinen, the former chief justice, on two charges brought forth by SG Attorney General Cordell Chavis.
Under the first charge, Heikkinen was accused of misusing student funds by attending a January trip to Washington D.C. with seven other SG justices and judicial clerk.
Chavis said the main purpose of the trip was to attend the presidential inauguration. Heikkinen said the purpose was to study other universities’ Academic Integrity programs.
The second charge involved an e-mail Heikkinen sent from her SG account that stated her opinion on the SG Election Rules Commission (ERC), allegedly violating the SG Judicial Code of Ethics.
A Judicial Review Committee (JRC) voted against removing Heikkinen from office in May. The JRC placed Heikkinen on probation, during which she had to attend a minimum of five counseling sessions with Manka, write five two-page reflection papers and a final 10-page paper.
“The Judicial Review Committee decided Heikkinen could stay in SG if she underwent a series of professional development things with me, which she did and completed by the deadline,” Manka said.
The JRC deemed Heikkinen eligible for consideration of re-appointment to the position of chief justice, but Student Body President Juan Soltero appointed Mari Loly Orozco as the new chief justice May 19.
However, Orozco withdrew from her nomination June 25.