Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Supreme Court Rules...

Shady Justices Make Their [System] Masters Proud

SUPREME COURT OF THE STUDENT BODY

In re: J. Clayton Brett v. The Pants Party

Heard and Decided March 20, 2007

Opinion Published March 20, 2007

JUSTICES: GAVRICH, C.J., KLEIN J., VIALPANDO, J. concur



The Supreme Court of the Student Body [the “Court”] here reviews the Election Commission’s formal recommendation to disqualify. We have jurisdiction per § 728.2(d) of the Student Body Statutes.

1. Procedural History

On February 28, 2007, the Elections Commission [the “Commission”] heard arguments in the case of John Clayton Brett v. The Pants Party, Case No. 2007-S-0007. The Commission made three findings: (1) The Commission denied the Pants Party’s motion to defer the hearing. (2) The Commission held that the Chair of the Commission has the authority to issue a cease and desist order. (3) The Commission held that the Pants Party’s distribution of “I Voted” stickers violated § 761.21 of the Student Body Statutes. After making its findings, the Commission formally recommended to the Court that the Pants Party be disqualified from the Spring 2007 Student Government elections in accordance with § 723.2(d).

On March 6, 2007, the Pants Party appealed the Commission’s finding that the distribution of “I Voted” stickers violated § 761.21. On March 8, 2007, the Court heard the Pants Party’s appeal and affirmed. On March 20, 2007, the Court held a hearing to review the Commission’s formal recommendation to disqualify. Because the Pants Party violated the cease and desist order properly issued by the Chair of the Commission in accordance with § 723.4 of the Student Body Statutes, the Court hereby declares the Pants Party formally disqualified from the Spring 2007 Student Government elections.

2. Analysis

The purpose of today’s hearing was to determine whether or not to disqualify the Pants Party or its candidates for violations of the Commission’s cease and desist order. In making today’s decision, the Court considered evidence presented at the Commission’s hearing on March 1, as well as testimony given today by representatives of the Pants Party and the Gator Party. After considering the evidence of record, the Court agrees that disqualification of the Pants Party is the appropriate penalty in this case.

According to § 723.4 of the Student Body Statutes, the Chair of the Commission may grant a preliminary order that a political party or candidate cease and desist from the distribution of campaign material where the Chair of the Commission deems that a preponderance of evidence leads to a conclusion that there is a strong likelihood of a violation of the Student Body Statutes. In order to maintain order during the electoral process and prevent chaos, the authority of the Commission must be respected by the political parties and candidates that choose to participate in the elections. In this case, Pants Party leadership deliberately violated the Commission’s cease and desist order. In doing so, Pants Party leadership undermined the authority of the Elections Commission and the integrity of the electoral process. Due to the severity of the violation, this Court agrees that disqualification of the party is the appropriate sanction.

At the disqualification hearing, Pants Party representative, David Meyrowitz, testified that, in his opinion, disqualification of the party was too severe a sanction. Instead, he suggested that a fine or disqualification of Pants Party leadership would be more appropriate. We disagree. Although fines are appropriate for minor violations of the Student Government Election Code, the Court does not believe that a fine would sufficiently penalize the Pants Party in this case. Moreover, the Court does not believe that a fine would deter violations of cease and desist orders in the future.

The Court believes that Mr. Meyrowitz’s second suggested penalty to disqualify only Pants Party leadership would also be insufficient. The Court believes that such a decision would not deter future party leaders from committing violations. In other words, if only party leadership was disqualified for violations of the Commission’s cease and desist orders, party leaders could deliberately violate the laws, while their candidates win and take office. The Court is not willing to leave that loophole open.

In conclusion, parties and candidates are not free to disregard the authority of the Commission or the laws provided in the Student Government Election Code, including the law regarding cease and desist orders as in this case. The Court is concerned that any punishment other than disqualification of the Pants Party may render the Commission’s cease and desist power obsolete and may result in future violations. Therefore, because the Pants Party violated the cease and desist order properly issued by the Chair of the Commission in accordance with § 723.4 of the Student Body Statutes, the Court hereby declares the Pants Party formally disqualified from the Spring 2007 Student Government elections. Note, however, that it is not the Court’s intention to disqualify the individual candidates or members of the Pants Party from participating in any future Student Government elections.

Lastly, the Court recognizes that, due to our decision today, one graduate student Senate seat will be vacant after the certification of the Spring 2007 election results. This seat will be considered vacant and must be filled after validation of the election results by the normal procedure of the Student Senate Replacement and Agenda Committee. That said, the Court notes that any and all former Pants Party candidates disqualified by the Court’s decision today are eligible to fill the open seat. In this case, Alan Passman was the only Pants Party candidate to win his seat. There is nothing in the Student Body statutes that would prevent Mr. Passman from filling the vacant seat. Thus, if he chooses to apply, the Court recommends that the Student Senate Replacement and Agenda Committee consider Mr. Passman to fill the vacant seat.

CAMPBELL, J. dissents:

Today this Court decided to prevent Mr. Alan Passman from taking his seat in the Student Senate. Mr. Passman was elected by majority vote via a democratic process. After Mr. Passman learned of the Election Commission’s cease and desist order, he followed the “law” and obeyed the order without question. His maturity should be commended, not punished. There is nothing even remotely Constitutional or fair about the Court’s decision.

Let us be realistic here. Mr. Passman, not the Pants Party, is being punished. The Pants Party no longer exists. According to the testimony I heard at today’s “sentencing” hearing, their leaders are soon to graduate and none were elected to office. Mr. Passman is being punished merely because he “associated” with the wrong crowd. He is truly “guilty by association.”

Apparently this Court wants to set precedent and send a message saying, “thou shall not violate a cease and desist order.” In reality, the message we are sending is: “You may as well violate a cease and desist order because you’re going to be punished regardless.” I am not saying that we cannot disqualify someone from taking seat; I am saying that this is not the time to do it.

Legal rhetoric aside, what bothers me the most is the fact that this decision could actually harm Mr. Passman in the “real world.” A seat in the university’s Student Senate is a good bullet on a resume. It demonstrates civic involvement and leadership potential. It could make the difference between being hired or not. By “sending a message” to the Pants Party, we are actually taking a line off his resume. A line, I add, that he earned. He campaigned for office and won his seat. As soon as he found out the “I Voted” stickers were contraband he stopped disseminating them. He should be allowed to take his seat, represent those who voted for him and tell potential employers that he was a member of the University of Florida Student Senate.

I am truly disappointed with the majority of this Court.

GATOR WINS -- EVERYTHING!
You won the whole god damn senate slate, you won the executive, why the fuck did you have to file that complaint and rob the GDI's of their single victory? Tonight I'm sure there will be toasts and laughter, cigar smoke and green bottles all over the place, inebriated statesmen will get all gushy over their full sweep. R&A members will pick another Gator/Swamp/Innovate/Ignite SYSTEM TOOL to replace Senator Passman...perhaps Pedro Morales will be all over the phones like last time (when he was pushing for Weiqi to be put on the slate) with a new person to help out of the kindness of his noble heart. Independents don't tell System Parties who to put on their slate? I wonder about people...

"We didn't make deals"....yeah and FBK didn't slander Grapski.

33 comments:

Anonymous said...

FSU law school and Miami law school are looking a lot better after reading this opinion.

Anonymous said...

Stetson too!

Anonymous said...

I take personal offense to you calling people like John Clayton Brett "homos."

For someone who apparently "respects" and has "worked with" the gay community, good job on the tact. Unless you're using that as a term of endearment, then it's fine. Otherwise..layoff..J clay is a good guy and I consider him and a friend, and a damn good politican, something you will never be...

and yeah..No one cares about Access anymore, like really, we don't care

Anonymous said...

Anon 7:55, You are James Argento and I claim my five pounds

Anonymous said...

Yeah Miami is looking real great with its $94,000 tution and $30,000 room and board sitting pretty 23 spots below UF at no. 65 on US News. Stetson looks even worse with its lowly Tier 3 ranking $81,000 tutiton and $24,000 room and board. Only UF rejects go to FSU. Not trying to be mean, simply stating a fact.

old school said...

Sorry you don't get 5 pounds, actually this is JA, whats up???? I only put over FSU, not miami and stetson.

I guess I am a UF law reject. Oh i accepted fsu before hearing back from UF (and yes I was rejected ultimately, kind of funny to reject a Udall scholar).

I love to kid my UF law friends with lots of love. I personally think FSU law is the place to be. FSU has the highest bar passage in the state (and I hope to be one of them in September). That has been true for the past year, i don't know if it will stay though.

The rankings at FSU are raising (and I have a feeling they will be even higher later this march when they come up), and UF's rankings are stagnating (and I have a feeling that will be reflected again this semester). FSU is ranked at 53 (and FSU was started in 1966) UF is ranked at 41 (and it was started in 1909), UF is 60 years older and we are only 14 points behind. FSU has grown rapidly (plus most of the dean's of the law school around the country agree FSU is one of the most underranked law schools)

You have more job oppertunities at FSU then you do at UF, because UF is in the Capital.

FSU law facutly is more noted and distinuged then UF's faculty. Go onto lexis nexis, and do a search of any of UF's 5 law professors compared to any 5 FSU law professors, and you will see FSU is more published.

FSU is the only real national law school in the state, as 40% of our student body is from out of state, while compared to 5% at UF. UF is the school where the good ole boys used to go, and that has hurt them, while FSU has made an effort to diversify its pool.

So keep telling me how UF law is better than FSU law.

I love my UF law friends, but guys, you gotta do better than that to knock FSU College of Law.

Anonymous said...

I am 7:55 and 7:56, and i have applied to all the fsu, miami, stetson, and UF. Stetson and Miami are expensive so I am ruling them out.

Comparing fsu to uf. The students at FSU were much nicer when I went for a tour, then the UF students. Plus the adminsitration at FSU were so much nicer to me, while the adminstrators at UF were not so. I am going back for admitted students day at UF and FSU to see.

I am tempted to go to UF because it is higher ranked, but I don't know if i can take 4 more years in gainesville.

Anonymous said...

If you already know it's going to take you four years to graduate, you probably won't get into UF.

Anonymous said...

8:15, why knock FSU law if it is full of UF people?

Christian Duque said...

8:21 You must be smoking crack; I never called JCP a "homo." You on the other hand are a major pole-smoker. =o)

Anonymous said...

uf law does have the number 2 ranked tax law program in the country

will said...
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will said...

That is a graduate program you do after you get your JD. But yes, it is great, i know several people who have done it.

9:49: Hilarious comment.

Anonymous said...

Christian, 11:45 - and the homophobia continues unabated. I don't mind if you hate gay people - that's your own choice and most people in this country do - but at least by upfront about it. "I have gay friends" isn't going to cut it.

Anonymous said...

9:49, you are obviously not a law student or associate with a lot of law students, as you would find out that law students, and law students to be, are not that good with math :)

Power Corner...4 Life said...

I don't think STICKERGATE was ever about creating a totalitarian state or anything like that. It was about precedent. From a recent conversation with J Clay himself, I know that he is actually pretty sympathetic to Passman's situation. It was about precedent (on his end) and the legitimacy of the Election Commission's authority (on their end). Also, look at it from his end - with his name attached to this case in the paper every single day, I think anything construed as a loss would be very embarrassing to him. J Clay did not WRITE the Supreme Court decision or even argue for DQ himself, although no one really knows who his counsel was and what HIS intentions were...

If you were at all familiar with a little case called Roe v. Wade, you'd know that once a case is in the legal pipeline it can continue through despite the intention of one of the parties involved. If he says fuck off to the Supreme Court's recommendation about Passman and blocks him in R & A, then I might understand your urge to send him to hell for political reasons. But he hasn't done that.

JCB (a 3rd year undergrad mind you) is already one of the best -- no questions asked. Despite the fact that you consistently attack and deface everything he works towards and the people he believes in, I know that he still respects your blog & your right to spout off whatever insipid trash you like. I bet he won't even react to this insult with anything more than some cocky chuckle. In my opinion he ran as clean of a campaign that can ever come out of the "demonic, evil machine" that you hate so much. Gator was a campaign which featured an Alligator endorsement, a very popular and attainable platform, and yes, even GENUINE, BONAFIDE INDIES who revere the ideas and talents of he and Moseley.

Most of us originally doubted J Clay's ability to pull off a good campaign - at the beginning he wore his inexperience on his sleeve and the lame duck SG administration had no confidence in him because he was filling a role that is historically limited to powerful FBK law students. Nonetheless, you're not attacking his campaign - you admit its landslide yourself - you're going after his honor! Yes, the kid's pretty brilliant and savvy, but the more telling fact is that everyone in SG knows him more for his straight-forward honesty, his solid Senate career, and his not-completely-compromised-by-FBK moral compass. Judge the machine as you like, but don't condemn him for his association with it.

Okay, so he must be driven by the Almighty Party? Wrong. I remember how hard he fought his own Party on the Cingular bill and even let himself go down in embarrassing flames to support the 2.5 GPA amendment, both in the name of good governance. If you were at tonight's Senate meeting you heard Sam Green, one of the most embattled people in SG, go on and on about how J Clay always stood up for him and proved completely trustworthy. Sam said he trusted him even over his OWN community leaders in some instances - bet you didn't know that Christian?!?!

If that's not an honorable man, then tell me how you define honor.

I don't think he is going to try and anhilate Passman, and I've also always personally looked up to him as a role model - so lay off the mudslinging, PLEASE. One day a potential law school or employer might background check this guy and find this garbage you’ve written about him.

Christian, I think it would be a shame if you had a hand in fucking his bright future.

Oh, its pretty ironic that you call him a Homo and his party the “Gaytor Party” while was one of the most unexpected, critical allies of Adelle’s community. He’s friends with all the LGBTQ kids in SG. It’s even more hilarious that you posted this the SAME DAY he and Budget Chair Tanaz Vaghaiwalla (his girlfriend of like a year and a half) were receiving a joint paper plate for their relationship.

Show some reverence for God’s sake. Without it your blog is going to continue to degenerate into the hate-box it's quickly becoming. I believe I am speaking the feelings of Senate as a whole when I say that a public apology is already overdue.

Anonymous said...

FSU, Miami and Steston law may look better because you disagree with a few justices opinions, but try explaining that to your future employer when they wonder why you didn't go to UF Law.

will said...
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Anonymous said...

There is so much information you leave out to make the "GDIs" seem more disenfranchised than they are.

Apparently, you don't care that J. Clay tried to cede his entire case to the supreme court? And that the only reason they went through with the decision was because an affadavit was produced by Sam and David where Alan explicitly stated, "I actively participated in handing out stickers?"

Or how about the fact that, while he was disqualified, Aungst told the senate in no uncertain terms that Passman is more than welcome to apply for the replacement seat and should be given preference is he does?

What it all comes down to is that no one wanted Passman disqualified. We just don't care that much. But what Passman does prove is that the turncoats were right by aligning themselves with Moseley. It's important to be with an executive that can be trusted to keep the best interests of their candidates close at hand, and Bruce did not do that.

All Bruce wanted to do was stick it to The System, and he didn't care if he sacrificed Passman. A good leader knows that he can't always act in his own self-interest, because the decisions a leader makes will always come back to impact the people he is responsible to more than it impacts him.

That's what happened to Alan. He chose the wrong leader, one who didn't represent his candidates to the best of his ability, and that directly resulted in Passman being disqualified.

Anonymous said...

9:51, most employers don't ask if you go to UF or FSU law. Its obvious you are not a law student.

Anonymous said...

Today is a great day as I have many things to laugh at: Duque, Pants, and FSU law.

And I will laugh hard at all of them.

Anonymous said...

on an unrelated note, anyone know when the hall of fame decisions will be made?

Anonymous said...

No offense to JCB, but it's not like this was a hard campaign.

What options did the students really have? Josh Weiss was unwilling to run, and any other independent was not organized enough early enough to beat Moseley.

Andre, despite his douchiness, was a better campaign manager who faced bigger odds in both cases of Access and Impact. Joe's campaign manager (name escapes me) was decent as well.

JCB? He hit a homerun in the fact that he had a good candidate and no organized competition. Let's not claim he is a god after one pretty uneventful and uncompetetive election.

If an election actually ever happens where the Greeks split or the indies get organized and he wins by the same margin, he can improve his status

Anonymous said...

Who was on Gator Party exec?

Francisco said...

I would just like to mention that JCB was suppose to be just a supporter of the Gator Party...I don't know what you guys are talking about as far as him being the manager :rolls eyes:.

After all Yooni Yi was the Party President and it seemed like Kevin and Robert were the "site managers" (Turlington and Reitz respsectively). Don't see JCB's name mentioned on any Gator Party material either. He was really just made out to be an unattached, concerned voter (although supportive of the Gator Party).

Then again, I guess what is listed officially and what actually happens may be different. Just pointing out what really happened, perhaps you are giving him too much credit for this campaign...then again what do I know about what happens behind the scenes...

Anonymous said...

Anon 8:54, which Gator Party? Joe's or Ryan's? I think we have all forgotten about the Gator Party of old. That was when the Alligator was still investigating things and trying to cover stories. What has happened to the Alligator????? Also, does anyone else agree with me that it seems like John Boyles has done ABSOLUTELY nothing this year? I can at least remember things that passed administrations have done, but what the hell has Boyles accomplished? I wish the Alligator was the Alligator of old. They need to wake the ---- up!

Anonymous said...

http://floridasg.blogspot.com

Looks like Christian may have another friend coming up soon.

Bruce said...

Yeah, take that Alan, you have been sacrificed! :)

Honestly, our chances were never that good to begin with. We knew that. We started pretty damn late in the season as you all pointed out .

That being said, were we all ready to do more than just "stick it to the system?"

Yes. You can argue that if you want, but I know I was applying to grad programs here and preparing a platform that I wanted to work on. Believe what you want.

Finally, the stickers are wrong. True, we shouldn't have given them out. But at the same time, organizations shouldn't impose sticker boards on their members either.

Our point: get rid of the stickers. Then no one could "suppress your vote."

Anyway, it was a fun election and I enjoyed it. I wish the victors (not us, hehe) the best of luck. I truly hope every single one of you (elected or soon-to-be appointed) each do much more than everyone expects.

My candidates deserve that.

Bruce

Anonymous said...

I agree with 7:45. While I think no one can doubt JCB did a good job, he had the luxury of running a clean campaign with no opposition. I think, even though the results weren't as good, the campaign managers from post sides last Spring deserve more credit.

Anonymous said...

7:11, I heard it will be either tomorrow or Monday.

Anonymous said...

Hall of fame committee makes their selections tomorrow. Everyone keep your fingers crossed!

Anonymous said...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1AWU1MwFiWs

Anonymous said...

"JCB (a 3rd year undergrad mind you) is already one of the best -- no questions asked. Despite the fact that you consistently attack and deface everything he works towards and the people he believes in, I know that he still respects your blog & your right to spout off whatever insipid trash you like."

Everything he believes in? What is that exactly? Promised positions? Non existant platforms?

And for crying out loud, he was "running" a campaign with waaay more money, more man power and with a coalition of all the frats and a ton of cultural organizations on campus. Not sure how that was a difficult campaign to run, could someone please enlighten me?

As for insipid trash... come on! There have been PLENTY of cracks on Pants party people too and I'm pretty sure it wasn't just innocent bystanders that wrote those comments either...

5:40 hush your whining, please?