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Friday, September 22, 2023


59th SGA administration appoints new justices in final meeting

59th SGA administration

Juana Garcia/The Cougar

The final meeting of the 59th administration of the Student Government Association was marked by a last-minute flurry of judicial appointments, some of which have caused concern among members of the incoming administration. 

The appointments were made after Chief Justice Eddie Munoz and Associate Justice Laura Rincon stepped down from their positions. Their resignation came shortly after SGA Attorney General Tiffanie Gordon called for Munoz’s impeachment, citing an “egregious” ruling in the recent SGA election hearing

“Considering the timing of the appointments, each candidate’s extensive background in campaign-driven SGA politics with For The Students, and the high tensions of the past elections, I find it nothing more than a last-ditch effort to hinder the 60th admin’s ability to pass effective legislation,” said incoming SGA President Benjamin Rizk.

Combined with an existing vacancy, the departure of Rincon and Munoz allowed SGA President Joshua Martin to appoint three new justices. Martin has appointed at least five of the seven justices currently serving on the Supreme Court. 

Caitlyn Foret, who formerly served as a member of Martin’s cabinet, was appointed to replace Munoz as Chief Justice. Her involvement with the 59th SGA administration was a cause for concern for Sen. Salik Faisal, who asked if she would recuse herself from future election-related cases. 

“Of course, I believe in the integrity of this court,” Foret said. “Any person that has prior involvements in other situations or parties should recuse themselves when deemed necessary.” 

While he said Foret is qualified for the position, Rizk echoed Sen. Faisal’s concerns in regard to her work with For the Students. 

Christian Medrano, a senator under Martin’s administration and chair of the Young Conservatives at UH, was the next student to go before the senate. Similar to Foret, several senators cast doubt on Medrano’s ability to remain unbiased in light of his prior involvements. Sen. Jayden Winsett asked how he would separate his biases when adjudicating cases. 

“Because I can empathize with others and understand their perspective, I’m able to set aside my biases,” Medrano said. “Everyone has to check their bias at [the Senate] door, and I will carry that sentiment into my position on the Supreme Court.” 

Ansel Garcia was the last to be appointed. Also a member of the Young Conservatives, Garcia was the only newcomer to SGA to go before the senate Tuesday night. Unlike Medrano and Foret, Garcia’s appointment went unquestioned by the senators assembled. 

“Though the organizations I’m a part of do have a political affiliation, that does not mean they necessarily reflect my beliefs,” Garcia said. “As a political science major, I have to be on both sides of the aisle.” 

Last night’s series of appointments represent the final legislative action taken by the 59th SGA administration. All that’s left now is for the newly elected representatives to assume their positions within the legislative and executive branches. 

“Once again, I think this has been a really good administration. We got a lot of things done,” Martin said. “It has truly been a remarkable ride.” 

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