ASUC Judicial Council elects new leadership, adopts plan to move forward after resignations

Brian Bi/Staff

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Five newly appointed justices joined the four remaining justices at the ASUC Judicial Council meeting Monday to reorganize after last month’s resignations and rule on the appeal request from Student Action after the party’s disqualification.

Jonathan Fuentes was confirmed as the new Judicial Council chair with a vote of 4-3. He will be filling the seat of campus senior Maureen Ochi Sides, who resigned at the April 17 ASUC meeting, and his term will end at the beginning of the fall semester. Campus junior Meanna Gray was elected to serve as assistant chair with a vote of 6-1.

“I am a new face to the senate, so potentially, I might be able to ease them in terms of my own demeanor,” Fuentes said, referring to the chair’s duties to report regularly to the ASUC Senate. “I am not too much of a provocateur.”

The council also voted to adopt a temporary rule order, which allows the Judicial and Elections councils to resume their functions on a new timeline. After 30 minutes of open discussion, the council passed the order unanimously.

Initially, the council was concerned about the implications of waiting for the Judicial Council to finish its rulings before retabulating.

“Just because it is inconvenient doesn’t mean it’s not what should be done,” Judicial Council member José Marrero Rosado said. “It just doesn’t fit our timeline.”

Although this decision had no precedent, the decision had to be made on the grounds of perceived necessity, according to Judicial Council member Saxon Cropper-Sykes. The order’s passage allows the elections process to continue and also allows the campus to implement the new student fees that were passed via proposition in the recent ASUC elections for fall 2019.

According to Chief Legal Officer Claire Goudy, the Elections Council will be completing the audit for the election cycle and will be bringing any new cases to the Judicial Council by the end of the week. After the Judicial Council rules on all the cases already brought before it, the Elections Council will retabulate the election results.

“We were very careful in writing this temporary rule,” Goudy said. “We are trying to make sure that Elections Council doesn’t make any decisions that could make the association liable or would compromise the elections process.”

Goudy added that the Elections Council has until 10 days after finals week to complete the retabulations. If that deadline is not met, the retabulations will be postponed until the fall semester.

The council also deliberated on Student Action’s appeal of the financial censures the party received, which disqualified all of its candidates in the election, in closed session for more than an hour. The council has the power to accept the appeal and overturn the previous decision, remand the appeal and hold another hearing, or refuse the appeal.

A decision was not reached, and the issue was tabled for further discussion on Wednesday.

The Judicial Council is also seeking the advice of a faculty member from the law school or the political science department for further decisions.

Contact Katherine Finman at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @KateFinman_DC.