BREAKING: GUSA Constitutional Council put Dagher-Ibrahim, Lamb-Breen back on ballot
At 1:33, the GUSA Constitutional Council sent the following email:
Dear GUSA Candidates, Members of and Advisors to GUSA, Members of Campus Media, and Fellow Hoyas,
Below are the GUSA Constitutional Council Rulings RE: the Appeal Brought forth by the Lamb-Breen, Dagher-Ibrahim, and Mogil-Klein GUSA, Presidential-Vice Presidential Tickets on Wednesday, February 25, 2009.
The Council wishes to express our appreciation to you for your thoughtful comments and your respect for each other, this process, andd our decisions.
Andrew Mok (SFS’ 09), Justin Weiss (COL ‘09), and Shane Giuliani (SFS ‘09) GUSA Constitutional Councilors
On Wednesday, February 25, 2009, the GUSA Constitutional Council (henceforth, Council) decided to hear a total of three cases brought before it.
In the first two cases, the Lamb-Breen GUSA Presidential-Vice Presidential ticket and the Dagher-Ibrahim GUSA Presidential-Vice Presidential ticket appealed their Monday, February 23, 2009, disqualification by the Election Commission (henceforth, E.C.) for “a second flyering/posting policy violation” on the grounds that the E.C. “incorrectly or inadequately” applied campaign rules (referencing Bylaw 16.08(a)). The Dagher-Ibrahim ticket’s appeal also claimed that the E.C. demonstrated “bias” in its decision to disqualify candidates (referencing Bylaw 16.08(b)). Because their appeals were similar in nature, the Council decided to combine the cases into one consolidated case.
In the third and final case, the Mogil-Klein GUSA Presidential-Vice Presidential ticket appealed the E.C.’s Tuesday, February 24, 2009, decision to suspend the election. The appeal was made on the grounds that the suspension of the election was “illegal.” The ticket also petitioned the Constitutional Council to accept the Election Commission’s decision concerning the two disqualifications described above as legal.
The Council heard the Lamb-Breen/Dagher-Ibrahim case first, allowing both sides of the case time to present their arguments. The Council heard the Mogil-Klein case immediately thereafter, again allowing both sides of the case time to present their arguments. In addition, the Council heard comments on each case from other parties after both sides presented their arguments.
Ruling re: the consolidated case brought before the Council by the Lamb-Breen and Dagher-Ibrahim tickets:
The Constitutional Council rules that the E.C. is not authorized to disqualify candidates for violations of any rules not explicitly stated in the Bylaws to the GUSA Constitution, pursuant to Bylaw 16.06, which states, “No other restrictions other than those stated here [in Bylaws 16.01-16.05] shall apply to campaigning.”
Additionally, as Bylaw 17.04 states, “The Election Commission must run the Senate and Presidential elections according to the election by-laws established by the Senate. The Election Commission does not have the power to make any new rules for election or modify election regulation.”
Pursuant to Bylaws 16.06 and 17.04, the E.C.’s disqualification of the ticket based on the violation of rules not explicitly stated in the Bylaws, such as a “flyering/posting policy violation,” was outside of the E.C.’s authority.
The Council further rules that the E.C. exceeded their authority in the disqualification of the Lamb-Breen and the Dagher-Ibrahim tickets pursuant to Bylaws 16.06 and 17.04. However, the Council finds no evidence to support the ancillary claim of “bias” in the E.C.’s application of the rules.
The Monday, February 23, 2009, disqualification of the Lamb-Breen ticket by the E.C. is hereby overturned, and the Lamb-Breen ticket shall be considered qualified for election.
The Monday, February 23, 2009, disqualification of the Dagher-Ibrahim ticket by the E.C. is hereby overturned, and the Dagher-Ibrahim ticket shall be considered qualified for election.
The Council notes that the Election of Tuesday, February 24, 2009, excluded the two tickets on the grounds of disqualifications here overturned, making for an invalid election.
Ruling re: the case brought before the Council by the Mogil-Klein ticket:
The Council rules that the E.C. is not authorized under the Bylaws to suspend the election. The authority to suspend the election is not one of the powers of the E.C. as enumerated in the Bylaws (in particular, Section 16 and Section 17), and is therefore outside of the E.C.’s authority. The Council rules that the Tuesday, February 24, 2009, suspension of the election by the E.C. was not authorized by (or, in the language of the Mogil-Klein ticket’s appeal, “illegal” according to) the Bylaws, making for an invalid election.
For the reasons stated in the Ruling re: the consolidated case brought before the Council by the Lamb-Breen and Dagher-Ibrahim tickets and pursuant to Bylaws 16.06 and 17.04, the Council does not recognize the Mogil-Klein ticket’s petition to accept the Election Commission’s decisions concerning the two disqualifications described above as legal.
The Council overturns the disqualifications of the Lamb-Breen ticket and of the Dagher-Ibrahim ticket and rules that both tickets shall be considered qualified for election.
The Council rules that the Election of Tuesday, February 24, 2009, shall be considered invalid because it excluded two qualified tickets without the proper authority to do so and was disrupted by an unauthorized suspension.
Based on the above decisions, the Council rules that the 2009 GUSA Presidential Election shall be reinitiated with all original eight tickets (including the Lamb-Breen ticket and Dagher-Ibrahim ticket) on the ballot. A new election shall ensue in accordance with campaign rules set forth by the GUSA Senate in Section 16 of the Bylaws (see again Bylaw 17.04) and in accordance with the GUSA Constitution (see Article 1, Section 7 for Senate powers regarding the constitution and certification of elections) in a timely, reasonable manner.
The above rulings do not make a statement about the adequacy of the GUSA Constitution and Bylaws, nor do they make a statement about the role of Georgetown University policy in GUSA elections and in other GUSA affairs.
Photo taken from Flickr user UB1 under a Creative Commons license.