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Sunday, July 12, 2020

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Senate fails to appoint new chief justice


Elliot Kauffman plans to resign from his position as acting Chief Justice once election season is over.

Elliot Kauffman in a photo from 2014. He plans to resign from his position as acting chief justice once election season is over. | File Photo

The SGA Senate at its Wednesday meeting failed to appoint a new chief justice. 

After Kate Dentler resigned from chief justice, Associate Justice Elliot Kauffman had taken over in the position to handle election duties on the Supreme Court. 

“I’m resigning at the end of the election,” Kauffman said. “I never was appointed to be Chief Justice. I was just simply the one that was the top of the list.”

After the election period ends, Kauffman said he plans on resigning completely as a justice, because he is getting a job.

Associate Justice Stepheni Torres, who was vying for the position, was not appointed by the Senate.

“It’s been a really rough few days,” Torres said. “I decided that I was going to stand up here in front of all of you to see if I would get confirmed as the next chief justice because I was the next runner-up.”

SGA President Allison Lawrence during the report of the president said for the chamber to keep in mind that Torres was Dentler’s recommendation as a new appointment.

After Torres spoke, the senators questioned her prior work experience and if she had ever taken a diversity training course relevant to the position. When Torres responded no, Undergraduate at Large Sen. Tomas Bryan asked if she wanted the position at all. 

Other appointments were able to pass as new senators joined the chamber and Director of Outreach Bryan Medrano was appointed to the Transportation and Parking Advisory Committee. 

There was a first read of the Supreme Court Efficiency Act bill and the bill was moved to the Internal Affairs Committee. 

The bill would allow the SGA Supreme Court to make hear a case without the Chief Justice present but fall to the most senior justice. 

After the bill was sent to Internal Affairs, Kauffman urged the Senate to consider the bill in a special session the Senate will hold to apply it during election season and not hold the quorum minimum at seven Justices.

“If one person misses, we can’t hear anything,” Kauffman said. “For a lot of practical reasons, if y’all could please introduce that in a special session, please keep that in mind.”

After the resignation of Kauffman, the next person to be in line for chief justice is Associate Justice Mike Floyd. 

“After election season I’m leaving,” Kauffman said. “I’m going to be gone, so there is no reason to hold on to something when I am not going to be there.”

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