Chief justice nominee denied confirmation
Published: Thursday, October 4, 2012
Updated: Thursday, October 4, 2012 02:10
After the Student Senate meeting Tuesday in Koldus, the chief justice position for the Judicial Court remained vacant after Chelsea Lu was denied confirmation, 15 for to 25 against.
The Student Government Association is a student-run organization that serves as the political voice of the student body. It is divided into three branches of government: the executive, legislative and judicial. The Judicial Court is set up with nine justices, with one who is approved by Student Senate as chief justice. Lu, senior philosophy major, was running for that position.
Lu addressed issues that she said were left unclear last meeting, where she came up short in a vote of 22 for to 19 against. The chief justice is confirmed by a two-thirds majority vote by Student Senate.
Lu spoke heavily on her leadership positions outside of SGA. She is the president of the Pre-Law Society and Aggie Big Brothers and Sisters. She is also a member of Court Appointed Special Advocate Association, which is a non-profit organization that advocates for children’s legal rights.
“I feel like the roles I hold in these three organizations makes me the most qualified person to act as chief justice,” Lu said.
Mark Womack, international affairs graduate student and executive vice president for SGA, said he was disappointed Lu was not appointed and believed that she was the best candidate for the position with a vision that was clear and in the best interest of the students.
“The reason why Chelsea is such a qualified candidate for chief justice is because of her vision for this position,” Womack said. “She sees the bigger picture, which is that student government does not exist for student government’s sake, but it functions to serve the students.”
The portion of the meeting dedicated to the election of chief justice, was set up with a five-minute presentation from Lu, followed by a five-minute question and answer session between Lu and the fellow senators. Lastly, a debate between the senators took place to speak for or against the candidate.
Senior chemical engineering major and speaker of Student Senate Scott Bowen spoke against Lu in the debate period following Lu’s presentation. Bowen said he did not agree with Lu being up for the position for the second meeting in a row.
“I have a big problem with the idea bringing up the same thing over and over,” Bowen said. “I saw the presentation and it was decent, but I did not see anything that changed since last time. There was nothing in there that would make me change my outlook on the situation and I can’t imagine there is much else that would make anyone else change it.”
Lu was selected by Student Body President John Claybrook as the number one candidate out of three justices to apply for chief justice. A veteran justice who has served three years applied along with Lu and another justice, both of whom haven’t served a full year on the Judicial Court. Sophomore political science major and Finance Chair Fernando Sosa it was Lu’s experience that ultimately cost her the position.
“She lacked the experience I was looking for,” Sosa said.
Sosa said he suspected Claybrook’s nomination of Lu — despite her lack of experience — was motivated by political reasons.
“There is no reason other than political motive why someone who had experience in J-Court wasn’t appointed,” Sosa said.
Currently, senior economics major Charles Arvin holds the position as intern Chief justice because he has been in the court the longest. With Lu’s loss, Arvin will remain as chief justice until a new justice is selected to run.
Any one of the justices on J-Court can apply for chief justice. One applicant is selected by the student body president and then presented to Student Senate.
Student Senate will now look to the other eight justices in the upcoming weeks to fill the Chief justice position. The same process that Lu went through will be followed to select an appropriate candidate to run.