ASUO Constitution Court

JUDICIAL ORDER STAYING THE ENFORCEMENT OF THE ELECTIONS BOARD’S RULING IN THE MATTER OF SENATOR RUDIN V. LAMAR WISE, ET AL. (“E.B. 1”)
[Issued March 14, 2013]

JUDICIAL ORDER By Chief Justice Schultz.

I On March 14, 2013, university student Kevin Sullivan wrote to the Constitution Court regarding the ASUO Elections Board’s ruling in the matter of Senator Ben Rudin v. Lamar Wise, et al. (E.B. 1). In summary, the Elections Board ruled that Lamar Wise, Amy Jones, Kevin Sullivan, Kevin Cronin and Katie Lyda (hereinafter “Appellants”) had violated Elections Rule 7.3 by engaging in “direct voter interaction” prior to April 8, 2013. Appellants request the Court to stay the enforcement of the Elections Board’s ruling on four separate grounds. First, Appellants argue that the Elections Board erred by considering evidence in violation of Elections Rule 8.1. Second, Appellants state that the Elections Board violated its addendum clause listed at the bottom of the Elections Rules packet. Third, Appellants point out that the Elections Board did not submit E.B. 1 to the Court as required by the Elections Rules. Lastly, Appellants argue that the Elections Board erred by not dismissing Senator Rudin’s (hereinafter “Appellee”) grievance, which allegedly included a suggested sanction provision. For the reasons discussed below, I am granting Appellants’ request and issuing a judicial order staying the enforcement of the Board’s ruling in E.B. 1.

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II ASUO Constitution Court Rule 9.1 provides that “[a]ny member of the Court may stay the enforcement of any order of a Hearings Officer…pending review by the Court.” Additionally, Court Rule 9.3 requires that the party requesting a stay submit either a petition for review or a statement of intent to file such petition within seven (7) days of the request. Finally, Article 11 § 5 of the ASUO Constitution unequivocally states that the Elections Board act as hearings officers for the Constitution Court with the “authority to hear complaints of violations.” Therefore, the Constitution Court has authority to grant Appellants’ request. III Although I am issuing this judicial order staying the enforcement of E.B. 1, I remind both the Appellants and any interested parties of several important points. First, any stay or injunction issued by a member of this Court may be removed by a vote of the majority of the Court, pursuant to Rule 9.5.2. Second, a stay or injunction is normally effective for 10 days, while allowing the Appellants seven days to file a written petition for review with this court. However, Elections Rule 8.6 clearly states that “[p]arties involved in the complaint may appeal to the Court within 48 hours of the issue of the decision.” Therefore, Appellants must file an appeal of E.B. 1 within 48 hours of the Elections Board’s ruling. Failure to do so will result in the lapse of this judicial order. Lastly, for reasons that I will list below, I am staying the enforcement of E.B. 1 so that the Court may have an opportunity to consider the arguments raised by the Appellants. However, my decision to issue this judicial order shall in no way be indicative of how I intend to rule on Appellants’ petition on appeal. In other words, this judicial order shall in no way limit or prejudice my fair and impartial consideration of future matters concerning E.B. 1.

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IV I am issuing this judicial order and staying the enforcement of E.B. 1 because of the seriousness of Appellants’ accusations. At this point in time, I see no reason to assess the credibility or veracity of Appellants’ arguments because the Court has not been presented with the entirety of the record collected by the Elections Board. However, several of Appellants’ claims appear plausible and the risk of harm to Appellants by permitting E.B. 1 to stand is outweighed by the Court’s interest in preserving procedural fairness and compliance with the Elections Rules. In E.B. 1, the Elections Board found that Appellants had violated Elections Rule 7.3, but it ultimately declined to impose any sanction. However, the Board stated that it “reserves the right to consider this violation when determining the severity of future sanctions if other grievances are filed against” the Appellants. Although this stipulation appears fair on first glance, the potential harmful effects on Appellants (if the Elections Board erred) outweigh any interest in permitting E.B. 1 to stand, for the time being. Elections Rule 9.1 states that the Elections Board “shall weigh the past course of conduct of campaigns when considering sanctions. Hearings Committees have broad authority to sanction campaigns and shall use this flexibility to protect the principles enumerated under [Section] 1.” If the Elections Board violated its procedural rules, then the potential harm imposed on the Appellants in future ruling could be irreparable. Therefore, I issue this judicial order out of an abundance of caution and a desire to evaluate this issue with arguments provided by the Appellants, the Appellee and the Elections Board. But with uncertainty surrounding the procedural validity of the Elections Board’s ruling, I am inclined to err on the side of caution. For these reasons, I hereby stay the enforcement of the Elections Board’s ruling in E.B. 1, pending further review by the Constitution Court.

It is so ordered.

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