SGA supreme court a ‘kangaroo court,’ ‘self-serving’

Juan Salamanca/Contributing Writer


There’s a funny tendency that governments run by a tiny, nepotistic minority share;


Our student government is far from immune. It’s easy to ignore what SGA is up to because, frankly, campus politics don’t seem to hold all that much weight. Why should we have reason to believe these millennials who are running a small part of the university bureaucracy are prone to anything other than banality? Aside from the control over how the 18 million dollars in A&S fee revenue gets spent, SGA has the unique characteristic of being situated right before the beginning of adulthood for virtually all of its members.

In this compulsively productive society, university is the sunrise of a long career in service-sector capitalism. Once an institution dedicated to the production of knowledge, the university has become subservient to the kind of neurotic careerism that rewards callousness and disingenuity at the expense of just about anyone who’s a rung below in the ladder.

It’s an unspoken relation that compels even the most philosophically principled mind as they bear pressures of an unrelentingly cut-throat social structure that constitutes the political economy of the United States today. It’s all about the hustle. It’s about knowing the right people and doing the right favors for the right people. It’s about a career.

Put in fewer words, there’s an incentive. Keep you and your party’s rule going for as long as the duration of your stay in college permits, play ball with university administration and the networking and the hook-ups should come all on their own, with the hopes that one day it’ll get you a slice of that sweet, sweet – and illusory – apple pie we call the American dream.

SGA has placed the all mighty career before their duties and responsibilities in governance by flagrantly refusing to follow the law it set for itself.

For starters, the Supreme Court hearing and subsequent decision that disqualified Access FIU presidential and vice-presidential candidates Sirven and Shaw was a naked sham so bare it defies the imagination that there aren’t pitchforks and torches marching in front of the SGA offices right now.

The current SGA Supreme Court, which has a duty to definitively settle constitutional questions, appears unconstitutional in composition; the position of supreme court justice is explicitly reserved for “students enrolled and in good academic standing at the FIU College of Law” according to Article V Section 5.02 of the SGA constitution. There’s no mincing language, no room for loopholes: an FIU SGA Supreme Court Justice appointee has to be in FIU Law.

Chief Justice Sergio Molina, who is an undergrad as well as the associate justices, at least one of whom isn’t enrolled in FIU Law, are evidently constitutionally prohibited from making a decision on Gilces v. Sirven, or anything else for that matter. No matter how smart or well-intentioned the Justices may be, the law is the law. That apparently nobody has noticed how blatantly unconstitutional the appointments are is shocking; that not one SGA senator objected when confirming not just one, but five of these justices is outrageous and grounds to throw every single current senator out of office.

Yet even if we, god forbid, decide to throw out the law in the court of law and accept the legitimacy of this supreme court, there still ought to be some careful consideration of the fairness of the adjudication.

Potential conflict of interests risk the impartial application of jurisprudence and nullifies the truthfulness and utility of legal interpretation does it not? So shouldn’t it be plainly obvious that if the Supreme Court has a clear interest in one outcome of the case that they should recuse themselves? To this supreme court, it is not.

They’re telling us that Chief Justice Molina can fairly and impartially adjudicate the case of the presidential candidacy opposing that of his fellow Theta Chi brother, FIYou’s Allian Callozo, that Justice Melendez, a sister of Phi Mu, has no compelling interest in disqualifying vice-presidential candidate Devondra Shaw from running against Michelle Juarez, who is also in Phi Mu, that Justice Kure has no interest in seriously harming the party that is running in opposition to three of her Alpha Xi Delta sisters running as FIYou senatorial candidates.

I believe the term for this kind of thing is “kangaroo court.” As I have argued here through the Beacon, the self-serving patronage of the greek establishment is un-democratic and when applied to the context of an institution which bears such a solemn duty like the Supreme Court, is a mockery of the rule of law–a cornerstone to democratic ideals by which we hope to govern.

That Speaker Collazo failed in his clear duty to maintain a lawful, legitimate supreme court as Speaker of the Senate probably suggests that he is unfit to govern as SGA president. At best, if he is unwilling to stamp out moral and legal ambiguity in the court, it demonstrates corruption; at worst, if he was unable to see the problem, it demonstrates incompetence.

One doesn’t have to guess too hard as to why the ruling party, FIYou, turned a blind eye to this clear miscarriage of justice; disqualification is a signature tactic, an old friend to turn to when the election cycle comes around.

Jose Sirven and Devondra Shaw are only the latest examples; look to the attempted disqualification of Stefan Bahad and Kristen Nyman last year or the successful disqualification of Philip Koenig and Adriana McLamb the year before that. In the world of FIYou, a supreme court is for the creation of favorable election climates.

FIYou claims that they want to empower students. Seems to me they’re more interested in perpetuating their own power.


The original column misspelled the names of Kristen Nyman and Philip Koenig; FIUSM has updated the column to show the correct spellings.



The opinions presented within this page do not represent the views of FIU Student Media Editorial Board. These views are separate from editorials and reflect individual perspectives of contributing writers and/or members of the University community.


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2 Comments on "SGA supreme court a ‘kangaroo court,’ ‘self-serving’"

  1. Kristen Nyman | April 6, 2016 at 2:39 PM | Reply

    My last name is spelled Nyman. Interesting read.

    • Philip Koenig | April 6, 2016 at 5:25 PM | Reply

      Apart from our misspelled names, it’s a well-written article. Props. Although I can’t speak to the current Chief Justice’s performance, I have always advocated that the Chief be an appointed Law student. It just increases the probability of good governance.

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