S/Court Hears Complaint From Senators Today

By R. Joyclyn Wea

The Supreme Court of Liberia will today entertain legal argument over an action of constitutionality brought before it by some members of the Liberian Senate.

This followed a notice of assignment by the Supreme Court mandating them to file their legal brief and appear before it for argument into said matter.

The hearing into the four senators’ petition which was initially set for Friday November 23, 2018 was cancelled due to unestablished reason.

The court action is based on an application filed by four members of the Liberian Senate seeking to prevent Associate Justice Kabineh Ja’neh Impeachment proceedings.

The Court citation said “Dear Counsellor, I have been directed by the Honorable Supreme Court of the Republic of Liberia to inform you of your appointment to serve as amicus curiae in the above captioned case which has been filed before the court. You are requested to filed brief in this matter on or before Friday November 23,2018.”

The House of Senate in recent time suspended rule 63 of its “Standing Rules” meant for the normal conduct of business of the Senate, which were prescribed by the senate alone, to provide the procedure for impeachment proceedings, thereby abrogating unto itself the authority and power to prescribe the procedure for impeachment to the exclusion of the House of Representatives.

Those Senators who took exception to the decision by their colleagues are now before the high Court for interpretation of the constitution provision regarding impeachment as mentioned in Article 43.

Petitioners believe that the action of the Senate and its product, the amended Senate rule to provide for impeachment are unconstitutional and is praying the Supreme Court to declare same.

Article 66 says “the Supreme Court shall be the final arbiter of constitutional issues and shall exercise final appellate jurisdiction in all cases whether emanating from courts of records, courts not of records, administrative agencies, autonomous agencies or any other authority, both as to law and fact except cases involving ambassadors, ministers among others.

The four Senators believe that their colleagues are proceeding wrongly with the impeachment and they are asking the Honorable Supreme Court to among other things interpret Article 43 of the Liberian constitution.

Article 43 of the constitution states that “the authority and power to impeach a public official, specifically the President, Vice President, the Chief Justice and Associate Justices of the Supreme Court and Judges of subordinate court of whose removal from office can only be done through impeachment, lies, exclusively, with the House of Representatives, and the authority to try an impeachment of public officials lies, exclusively with the House of Senate; and when it comes to the procedure for impeachment, the said Article 43 of the constitution provides, ” The Legislature shall prescribe the procedure for impeachment proceedings which shall be in conformity with the requirement of due process of law.”

The petitioners say ” That as Senators, they have a duty to ensure that their actions and the actions of the entire Liberian Senate, as a separate body of the Legislature are in conformity at all times with the people’s law, the constitution of Liberia; hence, they are prepared to work together with their colleagues and members of the House of Representatives to prescribe the rules to govern the procedure and process of impeachment of all public officials, whose removal can only be done by means of impeachment, consistent with Article 43 of the Constitution of Liberia.

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