Gag order lifted on divestment settlement case

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The ASUC Judicial Council lifted its gag order on a case regarding the settlement of charges against controversial senate bill SB 160 on Tuesday.

SB 160 divests ASUC funds from companies affiliated with the Israeli military. The Judicial Council originally issued the gag order around 8 p.m. Saturday evening, demanding silence on the case from all parties involved. The gag order came after the ASUC rescinded its previous decision to approve a settlement of charges against SB 160 that removed any clauses that required the ASUC to divest its funds.

“While the judicial procedures allow for a gag order to be placed any time, I believe that their reason was not sufficient to overstep the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution,” said Noah Ickowitz, a petitioner in the case, SQUELCH! party chair and a former Daily Cal columnist.

In an email obtained by The Daily Californian, Associate Justice Scott Lara thanked all parties involved for their patience during the gag order and stated that currently, “the confusion about trial procedure and the judicial process between the parties has largely been cleared up.”

Members of the ASUC Judicial Council could not be reached for comment as of 4:30 p.m.

On Friday, the Judicial Council voted in favor of a settlement between the petitioners and the bill’s author, Student Action Senator George Kadifa. The settlement would have removed clauses that petitioners had said were unconstitutional. Petitioners alleged that the bill had not been approved by the appropriate ASUC committees and was not passed by the necessary two-thirds vote. Two ASUC officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the gag order, were sharply critical — even angered — at what they called the council’s freehanded use of the gag orders, which the officials said was an overreach of the council’s authority.

The original charges will now go to trial, and the Judicial Council will rule on their validity. The trial for Ickowitz-Freeman v. ASUC Senate & SB 160 is scheduled for Wednesday at 11 a.m. at a location to be determined.

UPDATE at 6:12 pm: The trial will be held at Anna Head Hall and is open to members of the public.

Staff writer Jeremy Gordon contributed to this report. 

Contact Shirin Ghaffary at [email protected]