SGA introduces judicial reform bill, appoints committee members
Wednesday, the Student Government Association introduced a new bill that includes sweeping reforms to the organization’s judicial branch.
The bill was motivated in part by the controversial Supreme Court ruling in last year’s election that resulted in the overturning of over 2000 votes. The decision stemmed from allegations that a technical issue had prevented certain students from casting their votes.
“The election was contested last semester,” said Sen. Anahi Ortega, one of the bill’s authors. “And the Court threw out the votes for the first round. Their vote was just completely null and void at that point, like they were stripped of their voice.”
Provisions in the bill include limiting justices to three-year terms, community service requirements and mandatory training for justices. Some changes within the bill include amendments to the SGA constitution.
Ortega hopes the bill will foster transparency between the students and SGA’s judicial branch by allowing open attendance at oral arguments and requiring both parties to be present at court proceedings. She said the Court’s behavior last year set a precedent for lack of accountability.
“At the end of the day, students are paying money to SGA to advocate on their behalf,” Ortega said. “It’s a little frustrating that sometimes they get their own secluded bubble where they don’t have to answer to anybody.”
After the bill was introduced, the Senate voted in favor of sending it to its corresponding committee, after which the Senate will vote on its passing. The bill must have a two-thirds majority in the Senate to pass. For the constitutional amendments within the bill, the students must vote for it in the forthcoming election in the spring after it passes the Senate.
“From my understanding, before the 50th administration, I have not seen a constitutional amendment be struck down before,” said SGA President Benjamin Rizk.