The committee must go on.
After half an hour of discussion, this was the ruling of the majority of the Student Government Senate on Tuesday night. When the results of the vote showed up on the screen before the assembly, several justices in attendance promptly left the room.
A discussion on whether or not the impeachment committee currently investigating the allegations made against four Supreme Court justices was proposed by Sen. Jesse Davidson.
Davidson said he was concerned with how the committee was functioning and the basis on which it was founded.
“I brought up this discussion because I do not believe that our judges are receiving due process … None of the alleged acts were extreme enough to warrant skipping everything else and going straight to impeachment,” he said. “Also, the impeachment memo was presented to (the) Senate only a couple of minutes before we actually reviewed it.”
The timing of the memo came up as a concern for several senators. Those in opposition of continuing the committee said they felt the presentation of the memo and the review process were “shady.”
Davidson said he felt the lack of review left the senators, especially new senators, without time to analyze the memo and decide, with that knowledge, where to go from there.
Initially, the floor was open for discussion for 20 minutes with one minute of speaking time per senator. The time was then extended by 10 minutes.
Those in favor of keeping the committee, including Sen. Megan Summers, who was among those who brought forward the impeachment memo, insisted the committee was designed to investigate the claims and present evidence to the Senate.
“This committee, its sole point is to recognize whether our points are true or did we make that error,” Summers said. “That’s for (the committee) to determine.”
Senators Girgis Fahmy and Ralph Herz, members of the impeachment committee, said the committee was following procedure. Aladdin Hiba, another one of the senators who proposed the memo, said he believed due process was being followed.
“The checks for due process are everywhere,” Hiba said.
The discussion was a rare occurrence, according to Senate President Kristen Truong.
“We’ve never had anything like this,” she said to the Senate. “I just wanted to remind (the Senate) that the discussion should be based solely on whether or not the committee should continue … To further remind (the Senate), this discussion is not to point fingers at anyone. It’s not to blame anybody.”
The discussion concluded with a final vote of 14 to 36 and 3 abstentions, assuring the committee’s continued existence. The next meeting is today in MSC 3702 from 5 to 8 p.m.