Vacancies remain in Supreme Court

The semester ends today and FAMU students are still without an acting Student Supreme Court because of three unfilled positions.

SGA President Larry O. Rivers tried to appoint a student in September, but the Student Senate denied the appointment.

Since then, Rivers has failed to appoint any students to fill the court that is vital to the function of student government.

Rivers told The Famuan last month he planned to make his recommendations to the Senate Monday. He did not.

Without at least five members the Student Supreme Court is unable to review cases and make decisions that concern the student body and student government.

“Not having quorum is a big hindrance to the Supreme Court,” said Chief Justice Maya Simmons.

Quorum is the number of justices needed to review and make decisions.

During spring elections, which are weeks off, the court plays a significant role in figuring out the technicalities and legalities in each situation.

“The majority of Supreme Court cases deal with election violations during the fall and spring term,” said Simmons, 21.

Since the start of the semester the court has been unable to review several key cases such as the impeachment trial of Rivers in October.

The court was also unable to review a case involving three freshmen senator candidates who appealed election procedures in October.

Without quorum in the court, all cases and appeals bypass the court and go straight to Patricia Green-Powell, vice-president of student affairs.

Rivers said the three justice positions became vacant when three sitting justices graduated last spring. A calendar announcement in The Famuan stated he deadline for justice applications was Nov. 14, but Rivers said the deadline was Nov. 18.

“The positions will be filled after the interview process is complete and each candidate has been confirmed before the senate,” Rivers said. Previously Rivers said, “The ideal date to have the vacancies filled is Dec. 1.”

Rivers said the reason for the delay in the fulfillment of the court’s vacancies is a “big philosophical divide” between he and the senate.

“SGA members should not have a monopoly over SGA leadership and I feel as though any student should have the opportunity to gain a leadership position,” Rivers said.

Senate President Michael Morton said he does not believe that there is a philosophical divide between the senate and Rivers.

Morton said apparently there is no divide because what the senate was advocating for in the beginning – the re-opening and re-advertising for the vacant positions through the process outlined in the Student Body Statues – is what has occurred now.

“It is the responsibility of the student body president to appoint positions,” Morton said.

Rivers said his single appointment earlier this semester was denied because the student was ineligible because of a hold on a grade change.

Court justices said the majority of court cases deal with election violations, issues dealing within SGA relating to the interpretation of documents, issuing writs, and deciding if actions are constitutional.

Simmons said, “The primary role of the Supreme Court is to solve any cases or controversies among students and student organizations involving the constitution or student body statues.”