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ASG Senate starts process of creating student-run judicial branch

ASG+Vice+President+Macs+Vinson+speaks+at+Senate+on+Wednesday.+Senate+unanimously+passed+a+resolution+authored+by+Vinson+to+create+a+judicial+branch+reform+committee.
ASG Vice President Macs Vinson speaks at Senate on Wednesday. Senate unanimously passed a resolution authored by Vinson to create a judicial branch reform committee.

ASG Vice President Macs Vinson speaks at Senate on Wednesday. Senate unanimously passed a resolution authored by Vinson to create a judicial branch reform committee.

Sophie Mann/Daily Senior Staffer

Sophie Mann/Daily Senior Staffer

ASG Vice President Macs Vinson speaks at Senate on Wednesday. Senate unanimously passed a resolution authored by Vinson to create a judicial branch reform committee.

Yvonne Kim, Assistant Campus Editor

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Associated Student Government Senate unanimously passed a resolution to form an ad hoc Judicial Branch Reform Committee, which would perform the research and work necessary to create a student-run judicial branch.

The resolution said that although ASG currently has both a legislative and executive branch — Senate and its committees, respectively — it lacks an official judicial branch. According to the resolution, the new committee would “explore judicial branches in other universities’ student governments and recommend changes to shape a judicial branch of ASG” to promote accountability and transparency.

Six candidates were nominated to be members of the committee, after which Senate held a Q&A to better understand the goals and viewpoints of each nominee and conducted a final election.

“(The committee) should be fair and just and well representative of the student body,” Weinberg senior Hayeon Kim, who was elected to be on the committee, said during the Q&A. “It should be separate from other parts of ASG, and most importantly, founded in the constitution.”

The other two senators elected were SESP sophomore Justine Kim and Weinberg junior Daniella Lumpkin.

When asked about issues the judicial committee could address, Justine Kim said it should re-examine ASG’s code — its core governing document — and constitution to provide a clearer interpretation for the governing body.

“Rules (Committee) looked at the code last year and we made changes, but I think there’s still changes to be made to either make the code more flexible toward interpretation or even certain areas that need to be more specific,” she said.

Whether or not the Rules Committee, which is responsible for reviewing legislation for formatting and content, will remain separate from the judicial branch is still up for debate, Justine Kim told The Daily.

Lumpkin said during the Q&A that separating the judicial branch from the current Rules Committee could be helpful in distinguishing between checking legislation for constitutionality and serving as a disciplinary body.

“The most important thing going into the committee is not that I necessarily have a specific design of what I want,” she told The Daily. “It’s important for us to do a lot of fact-finding beforehand and a lot of comparisons with … what other people are doing with their (schools).”

She also said she would like there to be space on the Judicial Branch Reform Committee for people who are not senators. The Rules Committee is made up exclusively of senators and the parliamentarian.

The committee will present its recommendations for a judicial branch by the end of Fall Quarter, create a preliminary draft of legislation to enact these recommendations by the end of Winter Break and give a final proposal during Winter Quarter, the resolution said.

Email: yvonnekim2019@u.northwestern.edu
Twitter: @yvonneekimm

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