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Vote to re-establish ASUCD Court in special election

UC Davis students will have the unique opportunity to vote to reestablish the ASUCD judicial branch this Wednesday. This special election comes as a result of a University of California Office of the President (UCOP) policy that requires student governments to have a court, which was recently brought to ASUCD’s attention by a student.

ASUCD became the only undergraduate student government in the UC system without a judicial branch in fall of 2016, after voters approved a constitutional amendment written by Internal Affairs Commission (IAC) Chair Nick Flores that abolished the ASUCD Court. Flores wrote the bill after determining that the court “maintains no unique powers that do not already exist” in the IAC.

Former ASUCD President Alex Lee supported the amendment, stating in a November interview with The Aggie, “As an executive, I personally favor pragmatism and the spirit of [the executive’s] governing documents over the exact wording [of the ASUCD constitution].” Lee also vetoed an amendment earlier this year that would have created a Judicial Council and a Judicial Council Oversight Committee.

The Editorial Board fully supports the reestablishment of the ASUCD Court.

ASUCD prides itself on being a mainly student-run department, giving students the chance to “gain invaluable experience engaging in leadership activities,” according to its website. By taking away the court, the association effectively took away nine student-held positions that offered the most hands-on experience for those who are interested in judicial law.

While supporters of the court’s elimination argued that the judicial branch “ultimately is not vital to fulfilling ASUCD’s constituted duties,” it is worrisome that student officials first turned to the option of disbanding the branch altogether rather than finding a way to give it a more meaningful role. It is equally worrisome that no members of ASUCD were aware of this policy beforehand. By totally disregarding the possibility to address weaknesses within the judiciary, the association has shown a disturbing amount of negligence for the checks and balances system.

The importance of checks and balances in student government can serve as a microcosm for an even greater problem the nation is facing today. President Trump suffered a major setback when two federal judges in Hawai’i and Maryland ruled that his travel ban was unconstitutional. This bureaucratic resistance served as an important reminder to the executive that running a government is not, and never will be, a one-person show.

The Editorial Board encourages students to vote yes on the creation of the Judicial Council and the Judicial Council Oversight Committee at from 8:00 a.m. on May 24 to 8:00 a.m. on May 25.