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From the Beltway to the SGA: In-depth Analysis of Student Government

Posted by iusbvision on October 25, 2006

Over the last two weeks there has been some interesting action in the SGA. Let’s start off with the Judicial Council. Located on the SGA’s website, www.iusb.edu/~stuassoc, is the ruling and commentary of the case Kochketola v. Vigil. The six page ruling basically describes the complaint filed by Senator Erkki Kochketola regarding the appointment of the Chief Justice Chuck Norton to a constitution committee formed by President Marcus Vigil, a committee tasked with reviewing the constitution for needed changes.

Now my first reaction to reading the six page ruling was that I was impressed with the professionalism of the ruling. From my research of the SGA there does not seem to be much of a record regarding the Judicial Council.  This ruling sets the standard for future Council rulings that demonstrate professionalism and a true understanding of law. I give a big thumbs up to new Chief Justice Norton for his direction and leadership with a new crop of Justices by his side.

What makes the ruling impressive is that it was so detailed and professionally done when it dealt with an issue that was quite ridiculous in my opinion. If I understand everything correctly, and I like to think I do, the Senator does not believe the President has the right to establish committees to help advise him on issues with which the Office of the President deals. 

Now I really hope that both the Senator and the President will respond with their comments on our weblog which can be found at www.iusb.edu/~sbvision, but really, does anyone expect the President to carry out all of his responsibilities without forming advisory committees, not to mention the fact that this particular one was created to provide counsel regarding the constitution?

Now, everyone raise your hand if you think it would be a good idea for the Chief Justice, whose job it is to study, understand, and interpret the constitution, to be on a committee designed to advise about possible corrections that need to be made to the constitution.  Ok, go ahead and put your hands down.

It seems that much of the debate over the issues seems to stem from the conflicting ideology of implied powers versus expressed powers stated in the constitution.  If you really want to understand this case I suggest reading the commentary pages from the website, but here is a quick excerpt that really sums up the issue.
    

“Our SGA Constitution, like our Constitution of the United States, operates on expressed and implied powers. Just as the U.S. Constitution does not detail every act that the President or Senate can and cannot do the SGA Constitution does not either. If Constitutions did that they would be 500 pages long and would have to be amended almost daily to meet new unforeseen circumstances. It is a staple of constitutional law that the Senate and the President may take steps that are prudent or necessary to fulfill their constitutionally mandated duties whether they are specifically listed in the Constitution or not.”

I think this is a well put summary, the rest you can read for yourself, but I think what really gets me in the whole process is the bureaucracy. How much time was wasted in this whole process?  Neither the President nor the Senate really needs to be dealing with these types of issues when there are things that affect us students in our day to day life—things that the government is now distracted from doing.

But now here is what I get paid for, metaphorically speaking (I don’t really get paid). The interesting twist to it all! After this colossal waste of time by Senator Erkki Kochketola’s lawsuit, he had the audacity to introduce a new by-law for discussion into the Senate at Friday’s meeting. The purpose of the By-law was to create a senate research group in order to do background investigation on issues for the senate. The reasoning? There is not enough time for the senators to do the work. Senator, there seems to be enough time to be on the war path against the President and his attempt to move the government forward, but not enough time for student issues? I find that quite odd.

Rashida Vindic
SGA Analyst

79 Responses to “From the Beltway to the SGA: In-depth Analysis of Student Government”

  1. Chuck Norton said

    Just to help out the link to the Judicial Council web site is here http://www.iusb.edu/~stuassoc/judicial.shtml

    And just so the record is clear, Rashida Vindic the author of the above article and I have never met as far as I know. Rashida if I am wrong about this please let me know.

    I will be happy to answer any questions about this ruling in email.

    Also I ask that the readers not confuse the Chuck Norton with the Chief Justice hat on and the Chuck Norton with the news analyst hat on. While they both exist within me they exist for two completely different purposes.

    All the best,

    Chuck Norton
    SGA Chief Justice

  2. Rashida_Vindic said

    Chuck,

    You are correct that we have never met. I have actually never met any Vision writer as I do my work entirely by email. I do encourage you to keep up the good work on the Council and continue to keep good records. It makes my job much easier =).

    On a similar note, I noticed at the end of the ruling it talked about appealing the decision. Can you up date us, has either the President or the Senator appealed the courts ruling?

    Also, just out of curiousity, I talked about this lawsuit being a waste of the government’s time, I don’t know whether you agree with the assesment or not, but can you give us an idea about how much time the government has spent dealing with the issue?

    Rashida

  3. Adam Goldstein said

    I’m sorry, but this got forwarded to me, and as an attorney (albeit a New York-licensed one), I have to make a few comments on the commentary on the ruling. I will try to be diplomatic.

    It does violence to the concept of legal decision-making to call this a bad decision because this does not have a sufficient basis in legal theory or practicality to merit being included in the noun. It is, as most per curiam opinions are, the sound of a court unsure of itself talking about what it recognizes none of its members quite understand well enough to attach their own name with the slightest sincerity.

    This is not a comprehensive list, but the fairly obvious shortcomings:

    1. The implied powers in the U.S. constitution are pursuant to enumerated clauses that are open-ended; for example, the necessary and proper clause. There is no such clause in the SGA constitution that would authorize this action; if anything, it’s the contorted reading of the existing finite clauses that are being used to justify this action. You can’t have it both ways, legally; either you are using a finite enumerated power or an open-ended implied power. The former does not read naturally into this interpretation and the latter does not exist.

    2. Warren’s appointment to the Warren Commission is irrelevant to the Separation of Powers question because the investigation of the death of a president is not a duty specifically delegated to a different branch of government—unlike creating constitutional amendments. Warren could not have been appointed to the committee of the type in question here without creating a constitutional problem. At best his makes the comparison like apples and oranges, but more realistically, it’s just that the real world example supports the opposite conclusion of what it’s being cited to support.

    3. The court members seemed to have created a mishmash of subject matter jurisdiction, personal jurisdiction, and the basics of the rules of federal procedure and slapped the heading “certiorari” over it. The effect is somewhere between goofy and tragic. Where to begin? Certiorari is a writ issued TO A LOWER COURT indicating that the record should be sent up. There is no lower court here. There is no one to which this court could even issue such a writ if it had that power, and it does not appear to have that power. (Since the justices are such fans of implicit powers, this may be a good time to point out that, in the federal system, the judiciary has no implicit powers under the constitution; it seems to ignore the fact that there is no special authorization for them here, either, in its creation of these powers for themselves.) But let’s even assume such a power existed. It would be an improper exercise of certiorari to dismiss a case for failure to state a cause of action. Technically, the court should GRANT cert, then dismiss the case on the merits. Certiorari is a totally unnecessary power for the reasons cited because pure jurisdiction and procedural rules would legitimately deal with these cases without granting the illegitimate power to simply “turn a deaf ear” to cases the court finds inconvenient, which seems to be the construction this court favors.

    I’m sorry—there’s more to be said here, but I feel it would be difficult to articulate without first going through a basic primer on the function and structure of American government. Suffice it to say, I hope the authors do not fancy a career in (American) law.

  4. Ryan said

    “Now, everyone raise your hand if you think it would be a good idea for the Chief Justice, whose job it is to study, understand, and interpret the constitution, to be on a committee designed to advise about possible corrections that need to be made to the constitution. Ok, go ahead and put your hands down.”
    Wow, glad no one was silly enough to raise their hands. You do not appoint a person to a committee, then when the issue is challenged put that person on the committee to decide if it was a legitamate decision. Any slight lurking vestige of commen sense would tell the most legally illiterate person this is a conflict of interest. I think I’ll be looking for sga analysis elsewhere, if this is the type of thing we’re going to see here.

  5. Rashida Vindic said

    Ryan, you took my nice paragraph and threw it into the context of a different situation. I was not talking about how appropriate it is for the Chief Justice to have been involved in the overall decision process. I was talking about being involved on the actual committee. Are you going to sit there and tell me that the President should not consult the Chief Justice when trying to figure what changes need to be made in the constitution? Who better to ask? So you can go ahead and put your hand up now.

    I will however, say that I agree in the fact that if I were the Chief Justice I would have removed myself from the decision making process, even though the suit was against the President, just to ensure it would not look like any impropriety took place. He decided not to and if it were not a unanimous court ruling then that would have been a big news item. His vote really had no impact so in my limited space I did not report it. Plus I figure most people could have figured that out for themselves.

    Finally, I have read your writings in the other blogs and you obviously have issues with Chuck. Please feel free to take those issues back to the other blogs and stop trying to twist my article so you have something else with which to hammer on Chuck. Oh, and about “looking for SGA analysis elsewhere”, good luck with that, tell me when you find it. (I am sure you noticed we were the only news group on campus to even cover the law suit.)

    Sincerely,

    Rashida

  6. Rashida Vindic said

    Adam

    I would like to address your comments. Thank you for taking the time to respond in such a thorough manner. I think you make many note worthy point but I wanted to add my comments.

    First off I feel, and don’t take this the wrong way, that scrutiny like yours is why many students chose not to get involved in student government. If you follow the papers, the SGA recently had to “hire” 4 senators due to not enough people running for office. Not that your scrutiny is not warranted but you must realize I am an average student with no real formal SGA background let alone a judicial back ground. (Heck, I had problems understand parts of your post!) I just want an effective government that is out handling issues like broken coke machines, parking, and working to keeping tuition costs down. I see this squabbling over little details or the bureaucracy of it all and I want to pull my hair out. The SGA members are probably mostly like me, they have no formal government background and they are doing their best. That is why I thought the ruling was well done. It explained some basic concepts, wrote in an intelligent/professional form and with the commentary was somewhat easy to understand. We don’t have a law school here so there is only so much that can be done by our students. I just think that some (not many) SGA members get off on “playing government” more than actually accomplishing something of substance that matters to the everyday student like myself.

    You are welcome to hold the government to whatever standard you feel is appropriate but this is a student government and I bet half the times they are just happy to get people who want to help serve on committees, let alone go through a Spanish Inquisition when they do. I guess I try and look at the gravity of the situation. I can agree with what you said in regards to if this was Warren sitting on a president’s committee it would have had constitutional issues, but it is not the US Constitution. It’s the IUSB Constitution which seems to have many holes. Now instead of writing about the awesome new constitution that the government has put together I have to write about law suits and probably little to nothing has been done on the constitution. It’s what drives everyone nuts about real government. You can’t participate with out 8 years of education on how the whole thing works, you jump through 50 flaming hoops all to find out you signed your name in blue ink instead of black and your issue gets crush (this is an exaggeration of course, I am just reiterating the bureaucracy issue =). ( plus a little venting )

    I think you should put your name in for the open Justice seat. I think you would do a great job. I like to see the SGA handled with professionalism; I just hate when being politically correct or the process gets in the way of the real mission.

    Thanks again for your comments. I definitely learned from you.

    Sincerely,

    Rashida

  7. Chuck Norton said

    There is no Adam Goldstein registered with the New York Bar Association. I have also checked several lawyer finder web sites and business people finder sites such as zoominfo and no luck.

    The closest name I found was a personal injury lawyer named Scott Adam Goldtein who practices in Florida, but had passed the New York Bar.

    http://www.lawyers.com/All-Areas-of-Law/New-York/All-Cities/attorneys.html?searchtype=N&consumertype=P&lastname=Goldstein&firstname=Adam

    http://lawyers.findlaw.com/lawyer/lawyer_dir/search/jsp/nameSearch_process.jsp?stype=BY_NAME&target=LAWYER&country=United+States&fname=Adam&name=Goldstein&city=&state=NY&keyword=&submit=Find+Lawyers%21

    The arguments presented look almost exactly what I have seen before. So I suspect I know who is really behind the Adam Goldstien name.

    In either case, the SGA Judicial Council’s Certiorari procedures are similar to the those used by other courts in the IU system and at other universities.

    If anyone has sincere questions about the ruling that arent answered in the ruling or the commentary, they may write to the SGA Judicial Council and pose their question.

  8. Several things are troubling me about this post. First, “Ms. Vindic,” or whoever you are, you’re not a student or employee of IUSB. You also don’t have a public landline listing, because there are no “Vindics” in the area. And I wonder who put that etymology on the blackboard in the SGA Office? Your name is an odd mix of arabic and latin roots. Where’d you get it from, if you don’t mind me asking?

    Second, how did you get this job? What credentials did you present to Mr. Brigham that got you put on this beat? I ask because your understanding of jurisprudence appears quite limited, based on the fact that you swallowed the opinion hook, line, and sinker. I note that you didn’t respond to Mr. Goldstein above; perhaps I can persuade you to deign to address Mr. Goldstein’s comment? And you, Mr. Chief Justice?

    I also question the fact that you called it a “lawsuit,” when it was not a tort case; the SGA has no such body of law as “tort,” under which cases can be brought.

    Third, I’m noticing something odd here. Why is this just now coming out, when this decision was published in time for your last issue and was in fact on the website (where you’re clearly getting the minutes from)? What took so long, “Ms. Vindic?” Did you need time to verify that this decision was a caricature of legal opinion?

    Fourth, why have the only issues you’ve covered in detail thus far been ones involving me? I’m deeply suspicious when I get this kind of selective overage, particularly when there have been many things that the SGA has done over the course of this session?

    Fifth, what’s with the defense of Chuck? Why is it that Ryan has problems with Chuck, not that Ryan has problems with what Chuck has been doing? And Ryan most certainly did not “twist” your article; in fact, he appears to understand it better than you do.

  9. Ryan said

    Ms. Vindic, the part I quoted was your mocking the student body ina fairly condescending manner. The actual crux of my disagreement with you also has little to do with the fact that it’s Chuck involved. It is simply the obvious problem with creating a commission not allowed by the constitution, putting the chief justice on it, having his appointment challenged, then asking the appointee to decide if the appointment was legitimate. You yourself admit he should have recused himself. It’s like complaining about your boss to your boss. What do you think is going to happen?

    But instead of dealing with that directly, you have complained a gentleman versed in law gave ‘too much scrutiny’ to the issue, attempted to misdirect my procedural observations into a personal issue, and proceeded to complain about governments that worry to much on procedure over results. The reason governments have large amounts of procedural issues is to make sure there are checks and balances to prevent one person or group from abusing their position. It’s not ‘playing government.’ It’s taking ones position seriously.

    I can’t resist this bit though.
    “I just want an effective government that is out handling issues like broken coke machines, parking, and working to keeping tuition costs down.”
    And Italy just wanted the trains to run on time. Sorry, couldn’t resist. ; )

  10. Rashida_Vindic said

    Bravo Senator KochKetola (or whoever you are),

    You have shown me exactly what I figured about you. You don’t address anything in your post. You just make lame accusations about timelines, you try and stalk me, and then go on about whatever it is you have written on the board in your office (like I have any clue!). It’s no wonder people post on this blog under different names! You tried to find my phone number? Creepy!

    First I did respond to Mr. Goldstein, it’s the big long post right in front of yours!

    Also, I am sorry if I am an average student without your superior credentials and I don’t fit your billing for the proper SGA news analyst. We work for free in the Vision and we normally take who volunteers, no cushy $1000 paycheck like yourself their Senator. I guess the business of the SGA should be left up to elitist like yourself, just show us ignorant students where to bow down and worship our “elected” leaders, since we are obviously not worthy!

    Ok, I used the phrase lawsuit. Sorry again. To me and 90% of students on campus when you take things to the court, you are suing someone. Let’s make sure to be anal about that important detail. Maybe we could spend a month working on the definition of lawsuit, maybe create a bylaw to define it, because there is really nothing important that needs to be done while you’re in office!

    Next, I appreciate your careful fact gathering about phone numbers in the area (as creepy as it may be) but next time look at the calendar as closely as you looked at the phonebook. This Vision came out on Tuesday the 24th. Since we releases every 2 weeks that means the previous one came out on the 10th. If you look at the court ruling it was release on the 10th. So how could I have written an article about it on the same day we released, especially since the Vision goes to print a day or so before? But by all means let’s keep arguing over these important details!

    Why do you get all the coverage? Well let’s see, you were mentioned in the first article along with another Senator who had the same voting style you did, nothing in the second article, and then a “lawsuit” against the president. Sorry, I would love to do an article analyzing how you all vote unanimously to give a few hundred dollars to the Gulu Walk (a noble cause by the way) but for some odd reason SUING THE PRESIDENT seemed a tad bit more new worthy. Again, another very important detail we should dwell over.

    And for your final point, well I really don’t care if Ryan has a problem with Chuck, what Chuck is doing, or the type of shoes Chuck wears. He manipulated my statement to include an issue that WAS NOT even addressed in this article what-so-ever, and you know it. You want to debate the merits of him weighing in on the decision then go ahead that is fine. Just don’t drag my article in to the debate when that issue was never mentioned once. Period!

    You know I try to be open minded, listen to the posts I receive, and respond thoughtfully. And I know I have been very short in my response with you but you don’t make a single point or try and argue the merits of anything. Why don’t you want the Chief Justice to give his opinion on the constitution? Why tie everything up in bureaucracy? If this was such a big deal, where are all the other Senators screaming “inappropriate?” Why not work on something that will affect the average student? Why do you go on about not having enough time and waste it in such a manner? You know what? I am sure that there is some sort of appeals process with the university when it comes to these things. If this is such a die hard issues with you, and only heaven knows why it would be, I think you should appeal to them. Then come back with your vengeance in hand. At least next time you post come back with something related to the article.

    Sincerely,

    Your average un-credentialed student,

    Rashida “Rachel” Vindic

  11. Rashida_Vindic said

    Ryan,

    Good points again but let’s get to my real questions. Cut through the fog if I may.

    Yes or No?

    The president should get the opinion of the Chief Justice in regards to constitutional changes?

    The president has no right to create advisory committees?

    Where the complete Senatorial outcry if this is so wrong?

    If it is not specifically listed in the constitution you can’t do it?

    This issue was worth wasting time over?

    It was a committee to suggest changes. They were not making changes, for crying out loud it was probably little more than a bridge club (again, an over dramatization, sorry).

    I am sorry Ryan if I came across rough about the Chuck thing, you are very well versed in law (at least I think you are, every time I start to think someone is, I get told I am an idiot for believing them), but I talk with students everyday who couldn’t tell you one thing the SGA has done for them. I know they do good things and I try to let them know that, but this is a different situation than our US government. They get 16 weeks in the Fall and 16 weeks in the Spring to really make a difference and things like this waste 4 weeks. All the branches must come together to accomplish good for the campus. There is no time for these little power struggles. On big issues, ok, but they weren’t fighting over a tuition hike; it’s a complaint regarding who should be on a committee. I think that is why you will not see any other Senators standing up with Senator KochKetola. They want to move on and accomplish things. At least that is my theory. I would love to hear from any of them. My guess is though; they won’t touch this with a 10 foot pole, not that I can blame them.

    I still think we are missing each other on this point though. I do agree about the whole issue of Chuck abstaining, but how did my article address that at all? I was purely talking about the issue of the president garnering advice on the constitution from the Chief Justice. That is my sticking point. I think if you poled the average student and asked “should the Chief Justice be involved in advising the president on constitutional corrections?” You will get an overwhelming favorable response. That was the point I was making with the whole hand raising comment. I was not trying to be condescending. I do concede the other to you, but again I never addressed that in my article.

    Compare me to Mussolini (I know you were kidding) but in this situation it would probably be more affective. Yeah sure we might end up invading Notre Dame but hey, it could be fun =).

    I look forward to your response.

    Sincerely,

    Rashida

  12. ryan said


    I’d be up for invading Notre Dame. : )

    On the point! If you asked those questions, yes. That’s why polling though is a very precise art, soem questions already have an implied answer. Those you asked aren’t the issue you were discussing though. Your article was based about how much time Erkki ‘wasted’ on an illegitimate issue. The point is, it wasn’t illegitimate. He had a very good point. The commission was not legal for the reason that it was not all senators, putting a justice on there does not work. THe President only has the power to create commissions of senators for these particular types of issues.

    Let’s re-word your yes or no questions to slightly more accurate representations of the situation.

    1. Should an appointee be given the right to decide, when his appointment is challaneged legally, whether the appointment was justified or not?

    2. Should the President perform duties specifically not allowed by the Constitution?

    Thats why it’s an issue. You said yourself half the other senators don’t put a lot of extra time in, so why attack one actually trying to do his job? Your article had two major parts, that which was dedicated to patting Marcus and company on the back for their ‘intelligent and reasoned response,’ and that calling Erkki’s challenge a rediculous waste of time. So the entire issue was the challenge, which is central to the fact that the Chief Justice may not be a part of such a commission, and his refusal to recuse himself presents doubts as to his ability to funciton as a chief justice at all.

    And seriously. If anyone were to organize an invasion of Notre Dame… Can we do some pillaging at Bethel too? It’s on the way. : )

  13. Erkki KochKetola said

    Ah, clever. I’m “stalking” you now, because I looked up “Rashida Vindic” in the phone book and through the IU directory. The purpose of looking up your name in the phone book was to verify your existence. I have no intention of visiting you in person, “Ms. Vindic,” unless you happen to attend IUSB and are using a pseudonym. Rest assured, my efforts to discern your identity have very little to do with a personal interest in you, unless you are a sock puppet for someone else, in which case I want to know who you are. IF you are in fact a sock puppet, you are a coward hiding behind a pseudonym, afraid to reveal your true identity for fear that your hypocrisy would be exposed.

    I love that you claim that I wrote the etymology of your name on the blackboard in the SGA office. I did no such thing. Cease your accusations at once and stop attempting to spin this situation. Now. I know what you’re up to, and I’m not going to put up with it. Jared, tell your “employee” to stop acting like an ass and play nice.

    I possess no superior credentials, “Ms. Vindic,” than a self-taught understanding of basic principles of law, a keen analytical mind, and access to a broad variety of scholarly resources including, but not limited to, actual professors who have law degrees and a Federal Judge. I have consulted with experts, “Ms. Vindic,” and am consistently being told that my position is correct, not the alternative. You saw Mr. Goldstein’s comments. Why don’t you an invite an “expert” to refute him? Because you don’t know any?

    I am elected to represent the students of IU South Bend. Part of doing that is ensuring that the SGA is operating in accordance with its constitution. Since the SGA’s operation is largely unknown to the student body at large (an issue which holds deep concern for me, and one on which I am working), we do not have the added luxury of their scrutiny. It therefore behooves all of the SGA to be vigilant and ensure that the Constitution is followed.

    I maintain that the appointment was inappropriate, that the Judicial Council’s handling of the matter was highly irregular, and that I have been deprived of my due process rights. I will be pursuing this matter. Rest assured, I do not consider this a waste of time.

    Further, Mr. Ryan’s comments were perfectly contextual. He quoted you exactly, and pointed out your condescension.

    I must also take issue with your statement that “They get 16 weeks in the Fall and 16 weeks in the Spring to really make a difference and things like this waste 4 weeks. All the branches must come together to accomplish good for the campus.” No time has been wasted. This has not harmed the ability of the SGA to operate in any way, most especially not the Judicial Council, which has heard exactly one complaint, and botched that. I think this speaks volumes about the President’s choices for the Judiciary.

    If I am, in fact, on the “war path” against the President, it’s because he is acting in an inappropriate manner. I am by no means on the “war path” against President Vigil as you suggest, unless President Vigil chooses to place himself in a position that leaves me no choice but to go on the “war path” against him. I trust that President Vigil is much more intelligent than that.

    Finally, I wish to correct something that was misconstrued, from the very beginning, by Mr. Chief Justice Norton. The appoint was, in fact, made by the Vice President, as the record clearly reflects and which the President clearly admitted when he said that he “asked the Vice President” to create it. The Vice President has no power to create any committees other than Senate Committees, so the President cannot ask the VP to create any an executive committee. Mr. Chief Justice Norton, on the other hand, decided to construe my complaint that the Vice President had no power to create a committee with non-senators on it as a complaint that the President created the committee. He did not.

  14. Andrew said

    It’s no surprise the Chuck has a creative interpretation of policy, but it would be nice, Mr. KochKetola, if you could calm down a bit.

    First. Quite a few people in our history have chosen to write under pseudonyms (Ben Franklin, for example). I think that you should be more concerned with whether Ms. Vindic’s statements with regards to you are legitimate criticisms rather than if she’s perhaps using a pen name. This is a time honored political tradition, and unless she’s accusing you of something actionable, I don’t think you should peruse this.

    Second. You sound a little arrogant: “If I am, in fact, on the “war path” against the President, it’s because he is acting in an inappropriate manner. I am by no means on the “war path” against President Vigil as you suggest, unless President Vigil chooses to place himself in a position that leaves me no choice but to go on the “war path” against him. I trust that President Vigil is much more intelligent than that.”

    I trust Mr. Vigil is now very scared that he will tick you off! That was pretty intimidating right there, Mr. KochKetola!

    Third. I agree with you; it’s important to hold our elected officials responsible for their actions, however you seem to be harboring a large degree of acrimony. This is not productive. Remember that you weren’t elected to peruse a personal vendetta against the administration, you were elected because (typically) everyone who runs for senate gets elected; most people don’t care enough about SGA to run for office. Petty in-fighting is not going to help your image.

    Given the general apathy of the student body with regards to the SGA, I think that Ms. Vindic is doing something important here. There is no downside to students becoming better informed about Student Government.

  15. Erkki KochKetola said

    First, Andrew, “creative” doesn’t begin to describe this. I’m growing increasingly irritated with “Ms. Vindic” because “she” is being dense and creatively misinterpreting my statements. I am also quite irritated at Mr. Chief Justice Norton, the Judicial Council, and Marvin Rasch for the way they’ve handled this matter. It’s quite clear-cut, and they’re dancing around the issue to avoid having to deal with it. I have little patience for bullshit, Andrew, and this is bullshit.

    Second, I’m confident that Mr. Vigil would not be intimidated by that statement. My statement was intended to convey that I believe that he will not place himself in a position that will require me to bring action against him.

    Third, let me reiterate this so that we’re clear:
    I am not on a personal vendetta against the administration. This vendetta meme is an invention of “Ms. Vindic’s.” I have supported Mr. Vigil’s proposals on numerous occasions. My concern is that the Constitution be followed. This has nothing to do with “petty in-fighting.” I am, at the risk of repeating myself, only concerned that the Constitution be followed by all branches.

    Finally, you’re correct that “[t]here is no downside to students becoming better informed about Student Government.” However, “Ms. Vindic’s” column is not doing that. In fact, students are being misinformed about their government in this column, and I grow weary of having to repeat myself over and over again to respond to consistent misinterpretations and misquotations. This is a favorite tactic of Mr. Norton’s and his role-models, Rush Limbaugh and Bill O’Reilly. I further submit that the best way to learn about Student Government is to observe it.

    So, no, I won’t calm down. I will continue to be supremely irrirated by the outcome of this issue until I’m satisfied that the proper forms have been observed. We have these forms for a reason; they grant legitimacy to the actions that we take. If the forms are not followed, the outcome is without merit and cannot be taken seriously. The forms have not been followed. Look forward to more action on this issue in the near future.

    Cheers.

  16. Erkki KochKetola said

    Sorry, that should be “irritated,” not “irrirated.”

  17. Chuck Norton said

    For the record, the SGA Judicial Council has four members who are among the best and brightest that IUSB has to offer. To infer that the Judicial Council, or any rulings and forms are just me, is unfair to them as we discuss everything at great length. While we have diverse points of view and heritage, we try to work on things so that we can act unanimously, which often takes many hours of deliberation.

    I for one am glad that students are talking about the SGA, but it should be done in a reasonable and honest manner.

    As always, if any student has a sincere question about the Judicial Council, they may send me an email.

    The SGA appreciates your interest,

    Chuck Norton
    SGA Chief Justice

  18. Rachel Custer said

    Mr. Goldstein,

    Thank you for your comments…it is exciting that we have such a diversity of opinions, viewpoints, and educational backgrounds on our website. However, I must admit I have no idea what you said! In the future, please go a little easy on those of us who have not studied law or passed any bar exam! :) I’m sure, as a (sometimes) writer for the Vision, I have made mistakes that journalists would scoff at, but we are basically volunteer college students doing our best to put out a publication of general interest to the student body of IUSB. Thank you for your intelligent and professional insights, but please cut Ms. Vindic a break in the future…she is not a lawyer, as far as I know, as I am not a professional journalist…we are really all college students trying to learn, so for future posts, can you talk down a little bit, at least for all us clueless business students? :)

  19. Erkki KochKetola said

    Rachel:

    I understood everything he wrote, and I possess the same formal academic qualifications as you. I very strongly recommend that anyone reading this bone up on their legal terminology by consulting a law dictionary (one is available at dictionary.com), consulting Wikipedia, and availing themselves of JSTOR, EBSCOHost, The Oxford English Dictionary, and Lexis-Nexis. If you take the time to do the basic reading, a lot of things will become clear to you.

    Of course, I read legal decisions, journal articles, and books for fun.

    Chuck: If the Judicial Council represent IUSB’s “best and brightest,” then I fear for anyone who hires an IUSB alumnus.

    And you’re the one who argued that this was an executive committee from the very start. You compromised your neutrality the minute you replied to my message with an argument in favor of your position. I’m sorry, but this is a very clear breach of your ethical obligations. For the record, I will be going back to Marvin about this and requesting a sit-down. I want to work this out without having to escalate it beyond anyone’s control, which is no one’s interest, least of all mine.

    And I’m not sure why you accuse me of “harrassing” the Judicial Council. I sent one e-mail to the SGA Secretary requesting that the decision be taken down because I was appealing it to Marvin. This hardly constitutes harrassment. Since that time, I sent an e-mail to the Judicial Council as a whole pointing out that Marcus was the wrong party to this issue in the first place, since I maintained that the Vice President, not the President, had erred in creating the committee. This, too, hardly constitutes harrassment and is in fact a perfectly valid point to make in light of the fact that a court can’t adjudicate the rights of parties that aren’t before the court, nor can it adjudicate the rights of parties that are before the court but not named in the action. Since my e-mail exchange with you constituted my “arguments” and proper “filings,” according to you, the Judicial Council has clearly committed a grave blunder, and I am offering it the opportunity to correct this error. Finally, you also said in your decision that I am “welcome to file a motion to reconsider.”

    Why are you suddenly accusing me of harrassing the Judicial Council?

  20. Andrew said

    Mr. KochKetola;

    I’m curious; how can you appeal this decision to Mr. Rasch? As I understand it, he’s just an advisor. Since this is nominally a student government, I don’t see where Mr. Rasch fits into the picture.

    I expressed my reservations concerning Chuck holding a position requiring critical thinking long ago on this web log. I’m sorry to see that he’s living up to my expectations; I had hoped to be wrong.

    From where I’m sitting, you’re pretty much screwed. Chuck’s never going to reverse his decision, because he’s incapable of admitting a mistake (without serious pressure), especially now that it’s been publicized.

  21. Rashida Vindic said

    Wow, Senator. You just insulted the entire Judicial Council that has impeccable academic credentials, just because you did not like their decision. Why don’t you keep your anger focused at me and leave them out of it. No wonder nobody wants to be involved in the government.

    Do you ever wonder, sir, why you are alone fighting this battle, or why your precious research bylaw failed unanimously Friday? I think Andrew said it right when he talked about the “petty in-fighting”? I don’t think you will ever be successful when you make comments like those above, insulting an entire branch of the government and our alumni!

    Lastly, like Andrew, I don’t appreciate you running around spouting the “I am elected by the people” spiel when you received the 2nd least votes of all the senators in an election where there was no competition. You were a lack of options, sir. You are no more elected by the people to the SGA as I am elected by the people to work for the Vision.

    Many people like Andrew, Ryan, Adam, and Rachel have all made points that I agree with in one way or another. I actually come out and said that, while you just continue to attack. Heck, you did not even acknowledge that you wrongly accused me of sitting on the story, when I showed you a clear time line refuting your claim. Just keep doing what you’re doing sir, you make my points for me.

    And to the Judicial Council, I sincerely, apologize on behalf the student body for the statement of our “elected leader”. (“If the Judicial Council represents IUSB’s “best and brightest,” then I fear for anyone who hires an IUSB alumnus.”) Your work is truly appreciated, even if I don’t agree with every single detail.

    Thanks,

    Rashida

  22. Erkki KochKetola said

    Andrew:

    I believe that the way the Judicial Council handled the matter was in gross violation of my due process rights because they summarily dismissed it without hearing arguments on the merits, which Mr. Goldstein’s post above implicitly points out. Mr. Chief Justice Norton further refused to recuse himself in spite of the clear conflict of interest present in this matter. The Judicial Council, furthermore, assumed powers that it did not have in attempting to create procedures; such power is expressly reserved to the Senate, for reasons I can’t quite explain adequately due to my lack of formal legal training, but I’ll simply say that the resemblences between the SGA Constitution and the US Constitution are not accidental, and that this is the way US governments works, so our Constitution must also work this way since our “legal system” is modelled after that of the United States.

    Mr. Rasch fits into the picture in that he is responsible for ensuring that the SGA operates in accordance with the IU Code of Student Rights as well as state, federal, and local laws. Since I have alleged that violations of both have occurred, this was clearly a matter for Mr. Rasch to investigate. Mr. Rasch denied my initial appeal. I spoke with Charlotte Pfeifer, Director of the Office of Campus Diversity and Office of Judicial Affairs, about it but I am not yet ready to file an ethics complaint against Mr. Norton. I would prefer to work this out informally without having to further exacerbate this Constitutional crisis and prove that the IUSB Student Government is capable of acting in a responsible manner. That Mr. Rasch had to get involved at all is, in my opinion, highly unfortunate, but I saw no other choice. You highlight the precise reason why I felt I had no other choice.

    Chuck:

    What do you mean to suggest by stating that you “suspect [you] know who is really behind the Adam Goldstien [sic] name?” I just noticed that post of yours, and I’m very curious.

  23. Erkki KochKetola said

    Mr. Chief Justice Norton:

    Which campuses, in particular, have you contacted?

  24. Adam Goldstein said

    Dear Chuck:

    Frankly, libeling me is not going to help you out much, here. The fact is that I am registered with the New York Bar Association, which you could easily find by searching online (when the site starts working again): http://iapps.courts.state.ny.us/attorney/AttorneySearch . But why wait? Monday morning, give call to 212-428-2800 and ask for the registration info for Adam Goldstein.

    The true silliness of your statement is that a simple Google search of: “Adam Goldstein” lawyer — turns of plenty of results about me. More to the point, I practice constitutional and IP law out of the D.C. area now, and am gainfully employed full-time; I therefore do not “hang out a shingle,” so to speak, because I have all the work I can handle and don’t need any more; and if I were to do so, I would do it in the D.C. region, rather than in New York. So searching for me on FindAnAmbulanceChaser.com isn’t really terribly probative.

    Putting aside the fact that your accusation that I don’t exist is false, defamatory, and irresponsible (though not particularly out of character, from what I’ve been able to decipher from here) because the most basic of searches would’ve provided plenty of information about me, what I think is more telling is that you have managed to focus entirely on who I am and not at all on what I said. If it “sounds like” what you’ve heard before, I’d be curious to know why you don’t understand it yet; and if you don’t understand it yet, is it really the best use of your time to cast aspersions on my existence?

    Ultimately, I don’t really care whether or not you do the right thing, here. I was just piqued the tone of your decision. There’s nothing inherently wrong with not knowing the law when you haven’t studied it; but acting like you’re the reincarnation of Thomas Jefferson and chiding other people who actually seem to have a BETTER understanding of the fundamentals of constitutional law than you do is an invitation for a response. I certainly could’ve been nicer about it, but as I said, I was piqued at the tone of the decision you’d written. It was grossly obnoxious. Was my response? Maybe.

    The difference is that I’m obnoxious and know what I’m talking about, and you’re just obnoxious.

    Do be sure to update everyone on Monday after you’ve found out that I exist. I’m really not in the mood to get into a libel suit, but if it’s the only way to make a point, well, it’s not like I don’t know my way to court.

  25. Ryan said

    Ms. Vindic, attacking Erkki in one line for his making disparaging comments toward the judicial council, then sending your own similar comments his way on the next line is not the best way to build your credibility. He may have had 2nd least votes, but he’s obviously doing a much better job than the rest. If they want their SGA experience to be anything more than another line on a resume, this is the kind of issue they should all be looking at.

    Second, Erkki, calm down. Arguing with Chuck, and Ms Vindic is obviously not going to get you anywhere. They seem quite good at trying to dodge the argument by attacking the person bringing it. Generally this happens when one has no leg to stand on when discussing an issue, so consider it just further evidence you’re correct.

  26. Rashida Vindic said

    Ryan,

    Again you are probably correct. I just don’t care for this kind of attacking of fellow students. Yeah, my article stated many political problems I had with the Senator but I never insulted his intelligence. I think the worst thing I said was he as on a “war path with the president”.

    Well Ryan, I guess I am going to just have to agree to disagree with you (which is ok, some on this web blog can’t see that, they feel like they must hammer the opposition into submission) on the issue of “this is the kind of issue they should all be looking at.” For me and I suspect many student, this issue is just not worth the time. Does that make us politically wrong? I don’t know, maybe. I will quickly add I would be interested to see what the administration is saying about this situation, since it seems the Senator took it to them. Maybe they will clear this situation up. At any point, I think I have spent all the energy on this I can.

    I look forward to the invasion of ND.

    Thanks to everyone this week for your comments. They were all appreciated.

    Sincerely,

    Rashida

  27. Ryan said

    I’m fine with disagreeing. As long as we get to sack ND. : )

  28. Rashida Vindic said

    Thanks, me too =)!

  29. Erkki KochKetola said

    “Ms. Vindic,” if I appear to be attempting to “hammer the opposition into submission,” it is because said “opposition” (the only actual opposition here is Mr. Chief Justice Norton, you are third party caught in the crossfire) is continually misrepresenting, willfully misunderstanding, or simply mistaken about what I’m saying. However, you have insulted my intelligence multiple times; this column, thus far, has been little but an insult to not only my intelligence, but that of all of your readers. Your inability to comprehend the issues at hand here does the students a great disservice, and observing that this issue is “not worth the time” to many students is further disservice. Everyone ought to care that the Constitution is being followed, and that the Judicial Council creatively misinterprets the Constitution to allow it to do whatever the hell it wants, thereby allowing the Constitution to not be followed.

    I will be more than happy to inform everyone what the administration says about this when the issue is over. You already have some idea of what Marvin Rasch has said about it, since I’ve already been over his head. There’ll be more about this later. If you have any more questions, you have my e-mail address. In fact, I would be happy to share with anyone who so desires my correspondence with Mr. Chief Justice Norton on this matter prior to the Judicial Council “convening” to “rule” on it.

  30. Rashida Vindic said

    So says you Sir, good luck.

  31. Rachel Custer said

    Wow, Erkki.

    You have managed to take a flippant post meant to attempt to lighten the mood a little and turn it into a personal insult. I guess it’s true that I don’t read a legal dictionary for fun, but I do believe I have read a legal case and probably even a book or two, even for (gasp) fun! My point was just to thank someone (and amusingly, the person to whom my post was addressed was not even you) and to point out in a light tone that Ms. Vindic is not a lawyer and is doing her best. It’s possible people respond in certain ways to your posts because your tone is so condescending.

  32. Sam said

    Wow.

    Such nice and intelligent people (sincerely).

    I do not understand why the Vision not only condones but encourages Chuck Norton in this capacity with respect to the Vision.

    You have a major problem on your hands although paradoxically it is due to one person only: Chuck Norton.

    The Vison needs to lose Chuck Norton. He has a major comunication problem and I do not undersatand why this blog is so tolerant in this regard. Something is very wrong with this individual.

    Sam

  33. Erkki KochKetola said

    Rachel:

    I apologize if you feel spoken down to by my approach, but I am attempting to wade through a lot of fecal matter (“bull****”) when dealing with much of what is being talked about here, and I like to be precise about what I’m talking about. I will not, for example, claim that someone “misunderstood” when they ought to have known better (I assume they did, because incompetence is hardly a defense; unfortunately it all too often passes for one). But I can’t express myself adequately without often being somewhat blunt; in your case, I was not intending to insult.

    I have, as “Ms. Vindic” claims, insulted the Judicial Council, but that’s another matter; we can debate whether they are worthy of insult later (yes, that means I think there are people who are worthy of insult; not very tolerant of me, is it?).

    My intent was to make clear that I am a “mere historian”emdash;who as it happens is a bibliophile (among other things) and quite literally enjoys reading, but this is incidentalemdash;and have taken the time and effort to at least familiarize myself with the basic terrain (its geography if you will) of the argument and the major “map features,” including (extending the geography metaphor) the “country names” and their locations, but also the deeper flow of people (and goods and ideas along with them). I am not an expert, nor have I ever claimed to be, but neither is anyone currently working in or with Student Government.

    One of the problems I’m having with Mr. Chief Justice Norton is that he acts like an expert; the reality is that, for all his life experience, Mr. “Chief Justice” Norton hasn’t the formal legal qualifications nor the grasp of legal theory (or at least hasn’t demonstrated such grasp) of Mr. Chief Justice Roberts, or Justices Scalia, Thomas, Ginsburg, Kennedy, Stevens, Souter, Alito, or Bryer.

  34. Rashida Vindic said

    Wow, its like you are proud to have insulted the entire branch. Senator, your arrogance is amazing!

  35. Erkki KochKetola said

    Sorry, that shouldn’t have been submitted yet.

    I suspect that Chuck will deny that he acts like an expert, and that it is in fact I who am attempting to do this. But when has he ever not denied accusations against him that you knew to be true? It’s likely that you can dig up one or two examples. One or two examples. Exceptions, aberrations, deviations from his normal behavior? Or is his dishonesty exceptional, aberrant, or deviant? I think my answer to this question is clear, and many others have expressed similar sentiment, informally as well as on this blog.

    I mentioned the distinguished gentlemen of the Supreme Court because I recognize that, no matter how odious I may find their politics (and it is clear that the Supreme Court is political whether it wants to be or not) or their jurisprudential theories, they are experts. Experts who work to support a system I despise, but experts nonetheless. I can’t dispute the fact that they are distinguished scholars, widely regarded as among the finest legal minds in the land (and though I can’t quite bring myself to say this, here and now, of all of them, many of them are among the finest legal minds in the land and indeed the world). But Chuck is none of these.

    I want to be sure, to summarize, that you have the correct mental picture of who we’re dealing with. If you don’t necessarily believe as I do that Chuck is fundamentally dishonest in what he says in public (I will, for the time being, choose to believe that Marvin has done his job and verified Chuck’s GPA; evidence to the contrary may cause me to reconsider this), he does have a record of crying foul when someone accuses him of being wrong and dismissing any evidence that may be brought forth. For example, I recently contacted the Judicial Council informing them that the case had been decided with the wrong defendant named, a serious miscarriage of justice. The matter may be somewhat petty, but SGA is supposed to be a leadership laboratory. How can we learn to be good citizens if we don’t learn the law and how our government works?

    It is the educational aspect of SGA that makes it so critical that we be sure that we’re doing the right thing, no matter how absurd it may seem in light of SGA’s relative insignificance. Doing things wrong is easy; it’s doing them right that requires a lot of training. So SGA needs to be careful that it observes the “trappings” (as many seem to here regard them; I would rather say “fundamentals”) of government that are appropriate to the types of issues it deals with. I am not a poli sci major, as I noted above, but political science is indespensible to the study of history. I would suggest that a knowledge of how the government works (or is supposed to work if it does not always do so) would be indispensible for a businessperson as well; not only if you do end up considering a career in government but also because it helps you take advantage of it for your business. I’m absolutely sure that you get taught “due diligence” or something along those lines in your business classes. Part of due diligence is ensuring that the law is being followed.

    I should observe that my hostility toward “Ms. Vindic” is based on certain stylistic similarites between her writing and that of someone else I know, and therefore suspicion that the name is a clever sockpuppet, designed to create an “echo chamber” effect in which his/her viewpoint is amplified. I’m angry more generally that I have been singled out for criticism and false accusations (not quite rising to the level of character assassination, but closely approaching), not to mention hostility, obfucsation, and dismissal from others in positions of responsibility I’ve approached about this issue. The sole satisfactory outcome of this issue so far has been my conversation with Ms. Pfeifer, who I have to say was very helpful and demonstrated a clear concern for the SGA’s perogative and the seriousness of the matter. To summarize, I was reminded to “dot my i’s and cross my t’s” so to speak, and I am doing so now; I clearly haven’t made my case sufficiently.

    The confusion being expressed by others here has actually served a purpose, no matter how irritating I may find it. Rachel, I must thank you in particular, because it was a result of this correspondence that I had it. I think IUSB could benefit greatly from a free legal clinic. I will suggest this to the rest of the Senate at the earliest opportunity I have. This institution has several lawyers on the faculty (and I’m sure a number in the administration), and I’m sure we could find another attorney who would be willing to give pro bono legal advice work should the faculty members not be available.

    I think I’ve gone on at enough length about this topic, so I’ll leave it at that. I’m looking forward to “Ms. Vindic’s” column in the next issue; I hope the quality of writing will improve.

  36. Rashida Vindic said

    Senator,

    Simply put, you assume that everyone who doesn’t understand the law the way you do is wrong. Easiest example, the issue about the Vice President being the proper person the suit was against. If she was directed by the President then it is really how the court looks at what happened. I think I could see either way if I were a justice, be it against the President or Vice President. You see it as the Vice President (conveniently after the ruling has been issues) is the defendant and if people don’t agree then you call them incompetent.

    This is a student government and everything is interpreted by students. I don’t think you understand that just because you see things in a certain light does not make it right. In all honesty that is the courts job. Right or wrong, what they issue is law, regardless of what the administration may say. Just like in our government, if the Supreme Court screws up in your opinion, who do you complain to?

    You may have a personal grievance filed with the Judicial Office against the Chief Justice but it should have no bearing in this case. The SGA should be independent of the administration except where the constitution dictates.

    So you still think you are being singled out? You see no reason why this news event should have been covered? In a government of 23 members, bring one person forward who agrees with you. When you can’t do it that should explain why you were so called “singled out.” Senator, you make the headlines, I just reports them and give my honest “student” analysis! You are on a branch by yourself insulting everyone who is not out there with you.

  37. Erkki KochKetola said

    It would truly be nice if we could edit our posts. No matter, I failed to complete a thought here:

    I want to be sure, to summarize, that you have the correct mental picture of who we’re dealing with. If you don’t necessarily believe as I do that Chuck is fundamentally dishonest in what he says in public (I will, for the time being, choose to believe that Marvin has done his job and verified Chuck’s GPA; evidence to the contrary may cause me to reconsider this), he does have a record of crying foul when someone accuses him of being wrong and dismissing any evidence that may be brought forth. For example, I recently contacted the Judicial Council informing them that the case had been decided with the wrong defendant named, a serious miscarriage of justice. The matter may be somewhat petty, but SGA is supposed to be a leadership laboratory. How can we learn to be good citizens if we don’t learn the law and how our government works?

    Chuck’s response to my claim was that the decision was final, which is all well and good, but the Judicial Council decided for the wrong defendant(s); I never lodged a complaint that Marcus was exceeding his power (again, I have the e-mails, I will share them with anyone who wants them), I lodged a complaint that Joanna had done so. The Judicial Council cannot name Marcus as a defendant if I don’t accuse him of doing anything, nor can they fail to name Joanna if I do. But Chuck went on to claim that I was harrassing the Judicial Council. I’ve sent one e-mail to the Judicial Council since my last communication with them regarding the Constitution Committee complaint, the one that made the observation I describe above here.

    The sole other SGA-related business I’ve discussed with any member of the Judicial Council since that time was explaining to Chuck that I had withdrawn my request that the decision be removed from the website (because I was disputing it with Marvin) when I was informed by Heather that she had to forward my request to Chuck “due to separation of powers.” Since I knew what Chuck’s answer would be, I declined to pursue the matter further. I was even then accused of harrassing the Judicial Council.

    Now I’m done. If anyone has any questions, I want to remind them that my e-mail address is available either by looking me up in the IU People Finder or by going to the SGA Website (which they should do anyway). I am always open to reasonable questions (for appropriate values of reasonable, I’ll let you know if I think you’re being unreasonable, and hopefully we can work something out). I don’t bite. Much. ;)

  38. Erkki KochKetola said

    Ms. Vindic, I will say this once, and give you a chance to stop before I file a complaint with your editors:

    Stop making false accusations against me.

  39. Rashida Vindic said

    First off sir, my editor regulates my articles not my postings. Who regulates yours? Next, what are you claiming is false?

  40. Erkki KochKetola said

    This time, you accused me of harrassing the Judicial Council, of filing an ethics complaint against Mr. Norton, and of having a “personal issue” with him.. I categorically deny that I’ve ever harrassed anyone on the Judicial Council, no ethics charges were filed against Mr. Norton, and whatever “personal issues” I may have with (I have none) Mr. Norton have to do with his public behavior, most especially reinforced by his behavior lately in regards to my legitimate exercise of my rights. You’ve made numerous false accusations about me in the past, and I have repeatedly responded to you pointing out why such accusations are false. You have done little but accuse me of innumerable petty transgressions, and when you aren’t doing that, you’re accusing me of committing crimes. Once more, I insist that you stop making false accusations against me. This is your final warning.

  41. Andrew said

    The internet is serious business.

  42. Rashida Vindic said

    What are you talking about?

    Quote: You may have a personal grievance filed with the Judicial Office…

    Did you catch the word MAY. Gees, look at any post I have written you will never find the word “harrassed” in regards to the Judicial Council. Again I ask, what accusations of crimes did I make against you? You need to read more carefully.

    You are the one who still hasn’t acknowledged that you wrongly accused me of sitting on the article, when there is no possible way I could have written it when you said I should have.

  43. Rashida Vindic said

    Serious business, indeed, Andrew.

  44. Erkki KochKetola said

    “Ms. Vindic:”

    I apologize, I misread your post. You didn’t accuse me of harrassing anyone. Nevertheless, you did insinuate that I was allowing personal greivances to influence my judgement in this matter. To say that “[I] may have a greivance filed with the Judicial Office against the Chief Justice but that should have no bearing in this case,” then claim that because you said “may” meant you weren’t sure if I did, quite frankly, I don’t buy. You were insinuating that I had filed a greivance and that this was influencing my judgement. This is categorically false. Any personal greivance I may have with anyone else on the Student Government has everything to do with how they conduct themselves in Student Government or elsewhere that may reflect on their ability to do their job. I have repeatedly pointed out, and you have repeatedly refused to acknowledge, that my position is not correct merely because I want it to be but because I have used rules for interpreting legal documents that I did not invent (and which are established by jurisprudential scholars to avoid situations exactly like this; the malleability of language is well known in the legal profession and used quite cleverly in many instances) to arrive at my conclusion, and because I have taken the time to understand some basic legal terminology (such as “certiorari,” which Mr. Norton bandies about as if it were some magic wand allowing him to deny anyone anything on any grounds, but is in fact totally inappropriate in this context).

    The crux of my disagreement with you, “Ms. Vindic,” is that you cannot simply “offer a ‘student’ perspective” on issues such as this. The rules used for interpreting legal documents apply universally, and the SGA Constitution is nothing if not a legal document. Again, you are doing the student body of IUSB a disservice with your continued willful ignorance (willful because the facts have repeatedly been pointed out to you and it has been necessary to escalate to throwing them in your face repeatedly because you refuse to acknowledge that they are there) of the law. The SGA could get itself into very deep trouble, and the fact that I happen to know what we’re up to give me credit for preventing future Student Government members from having to deal with issues like this.

    You continually accuse me of acting out of self-interest. I do not deny this. What I am doing, however, is acting in the interests not only of the rest of the Student Government, but also of the student body as a whole, whether you realize it or not. You will no doubt accuse me of being arrogant; if this is arrogance, then damn humility. I will pursue whatever means are at my disposal to prevent the SGA from becoming a laughingstock, or perhaps neutered because of our irresponsibility. I have no doubt that there are people who don’t believe we should be allowed to have any say at all over how the campus runs, that it should be left to “experts,” and that if we continue to allow our Student Government to screw up like this, their voices will be favored.

    I am, in short, fighting to protect the Student Body from its own Government’s shortcomings. I have a long list of shortcomings (both in terms of how the SGA conducts its business and in terms of what business the SGA conducts), but only so much time in which to address them. Issues such as this are an irritation, a distraction, and waste valuable time which could be better spent dealing with issues that are of greater immediate import to the Student Body. I have a long list of things, as I mentioned, that I think need to be dealt with.

    And I cannot substantiate my allegation that you sat on this story, so I owe you an apology for this accusation as well. I’m beginning to understand why people speak through lawyers when dealing with issues like this.

    Finally:
    “Rashida Vindic” is not an IU student or employee (academic or otherwise). I’m confident that there is no “Rashida Vindic” anywhere, since the only hits found through a Google search were here. You should have shown up somewhere, “Ms. Vindic,” and you haven’t, which is highly suspicious. If you are, in fact, a student, what University do you go to? What is your major?

    I’m surprised that someone should feel the need to hide behind a pseudonym. Even in the case of the Framers, who emdash; as someone else pointed out earlier emdash; used pseudonyms to publish some of their writings, the actual identity of the participants was not unknown. If you are who I think you are, “Ms. Vindic,” then your use of a pseudonym is cowardly indeed.

    Time will tell. This is my last statement on this matter for the time being. I will be sure to update the public when further developments occur.

  45. Rashida Vindic said

    Senator,

    Thanks for your recent reply. I think you do have good intentions although I disagree with how you have gone about pursuing them and some of the philosophy behind some of them. I think many students have a much more simplistic view of the SGA which you think makes it weak, I however disagree, I think it makes it more affective. (this is ok though)

    I will say that when I re-read my initial post I see how you could have read the word “may” out of context, it was not the best formed sentence. I actually would not consider a complaint filed with the Judicial Office harassment, I think you are entitled to that if you feel your student rights have been violated. I just know that the Judicial Office has no authority over the constitution of the SGA, only the Student Code so I figured that is why you had talked to that office.

    Anyways, you are right in that we have been beating this issue pretty hard. I will look forward to any updates that are forth coming.

    Sincerely,

    Rashida

  46. A. Student said

    Mr. Kochketola,

    I was wondering if you could verify a rumor that is flying around campus?

    It is being said you are attempting to impeach the entire Judicial Council because of this situation. Can you let us know if there is any truth to this rumor?

    Thanks for your time,

    A. Student

  47. Rashida Vindic said

    Well, that is interesting. Is there any truth to this Senator?

  48. Ryan said

    If this is the type of rulings we’re likely to see, I certainly hope so. I’d support it. There is a complete lack of regard for constitutional process reflected in this, and thats not what a judiciary should be showing.

    Also, still wondering if Chuck took Mr Goldstein up on his offer and called the number provided.

  49. Rashida Vindic said

    Ryan,

    This is what I find as the problem with the SGA. Some of these justices have been on only a short time, 2 months and you want to hang them because you disagree with their interpretation of the constitution. Its beautiful, you don’t know any of them from a hill of beans (except for Norton) and you are ready to write them all off. Again these are not law students and there are none on campus so at this rate I except we will go through roughly, auh maybe 12 justices this year. Why don’t we impeach the whole Senate for not standing up against this decision with Senator KochKetola while we are at it?

    If this is indeed true, I have a feeling it will comeback to haunt the Senator. You just don’t go after an entire branch of the government because they didn’t side with you on an impass. Ryan have you heard this rumor also? I would like to hear more from you why you think this is appropriate.

    Thanks,

    Rashida

  50. Andrew said

    Law students didn’t write that constitution, so it doesn’t make sense to suggest that only law students can correctly interpret it. That’s silly. It’s troubling to me that you seem think that the lack of a law school on our campus somehow excuses mistakes by the student judiciary.

  51. Rashida Vindic said

    There in is the difference. I don’t think it is a mistake. I think it is an interpretation. I feel that just because the interpretation does not stand up to what others think, or how they would read the constitution, the justices are being hammered. Just because they aren’t law students and can’t give a 20 page legal brief and throw out all the great lawyer talk as some tend to do on this blog, does not make them wrong. Just average students. My point about the lack of law students stems from the level of criticism the justices are receiving. The constitution was written by average students and interpreted by the same, so what is the deal? According to the constitution there is no way that someone can be impeached for not making a popular decision. I just don’t follow the logic.

  52. Andrew said

    … so you’re saying it’s OK if these people are incompetent, because they’re not lawyers?

    it’s a pretty crappy constitution if, once the people are in office, they can say ‘nanny nanny boo boo, we can do whatever we want and you can’t kick us out’, which is essentially the situation you describe. have you actually read this constitution (no fair reading it BEFORE you respond, and then replying in the affirmative!).

  53. Rashida Vindic said

    No I definitely agree with you there. Let’s make it so that if your ugly we can kick you out also. Why leave it limited to kicking someone out when you disagree with them? I mean that is what we do in the real world. If we don’t like the Supreme Court’s ruling we just kick them out. There is an electoral process for a reason. If you don’t like the appointments, vote for another President, but the long of the short of it is, once a justice is in office I don’t care if they say I “nanny nanny boo boo” or scream at the full moon on Friday nights. The judicial branch is part of the checks and balances of the system and if you take away one of their fundamental powers, not being elected and the ability to make interpretation without fear of reprisal from the senate or president then they are a worthless branch. You learn this in like 6th grade history class.

    So again, explain to me once again how this is so wrong and not just the justice’s interpretation. This is their ruling and unless it violates the student code or a state, federal, or local law, there is no grounds for an impeachment, per the constitution (or so I hear, since I have never read it).

  54. Bret Matrix said

    The constitution is available at the sga website http://www.iusb.edu/~stuassoc/constitution2005.pdf

  55. Rashida Vindic said

    Thanks Bret, I was actaully being sarcastic though. I would never attempt to analyze this situation without first reading the constitution. At any rate, thanks.

  56. Andrew said

    All I’m saying is that since you actually haven’t read the constitution, you shouldn’t make claims like “According to the constitution there is no way that someone can be impeached for not making a popular decision.”

    I actually agree with you, though. Unless the judicial branch is marvelously incompetent (and I think anything with which Chuck is associated is in danger of becoming incompetent by osmosis), it shouldn’t be subject to recall. This is why the President’s remarks about “Activist Judges that legislate from the bench” scare me.

  57. Rashida Vindic said

    Andrew,

    First off did you not just read my in front of yours? Of course I read the constitution. Your post is within a few minutes of mine so maybe you overlooked it.

    Your comment about Chuck is what bothers me a little in the idea that the issues people have with him are being thrown over on to all three other judges. Do you even know the names of the other judges? (no fair finding them BEFORE you respond, and then replying in the affirmative!) (deja vu)

    I do like what you said about activist judges. I agree with that, especially in the real world, but this issue is not about abortion or the patriot act, its about a simple advisory committee.

    Your comments about what the President has said, were you refering to the SGA or US President?

  58. Ryan said

    Let me quote form the Constitution all relevant passages.

    the Vice President Shall
    -The Vice President may assign senators to Student Senate Standing Committees and ad-hoc commitees with the approval of the Senate.
    -Have the power to create ad-hoc committees to serve special projects as required with the approval of the Senate.

    There are no powers listed to allow the president to make committees. However its very clear that only Senators may participate in such committees, justices are not mentioned. The CHief Justices ruling was not a misinterpretation, it was a conflcit of interest. Chuck’s smart enough to notice such details, he makes his campus reputation by focusing on minor details and distorting them for partisan ends. So there is no way one can convince me he didn’t notice this.

    Yes, I am quite happy to fire people not doing there job. Tenure is not an excuse for incompetence, and this is not something that requires a law student. Standard liberal arts promoted reading skills should make this a fairly clear situation. That’s why I would not support this. It’s not some intentionally vague national constitution. It’s a clear cut document saying what each officer can and cannot do. I would support impeachment for the same reason I’d support canning a math teacher teaching that 2*2 = 10.

    As to rumors of course I’ve heard it. First thing I thought after reading the constitution was “is there an impeachment process?” SO I’m sure others have thought the same thing.

  59. Ryan said

    Though it occurs to me there seems to be no procedure for impeaching the entire judicial panel, as the remaining justices are to be the fury in such a situation. But hey, according to the ruling in this prior matter being the subject of the trial probably isn’t a big enough conflict of interest to recuse oneself as a jurist, according to our chief justice.

    Also, I imagine this would make the SGA experience much more of a learing situation, this year. : )

  60. Andrew said

    Rashida, if you’ve read the constitution, why’d you say “… there is no grounds for an impeachment, per the constitution (or so I hear, since I have never read it).”?

    I have no idea who the other justices are. Chuck wrote the opinion in question, so it seems to me that if they didn’t agree with it they could have spoken up. Understand, I don’t want to impeach anyone but Chuck at this point. I think Erkki sounds like a dirty hippy, but that’s not an impeachable offense, unfortunately.

    I was referring to Mr. Bush. So far as I know, Vigil hasn’t said anything about benches.

  61. Chuck Norton said

    Hello all,

    If you read the thread I offered to answer any questions about the ruling, or the reasoning as to why we ruled that way, in email. So far no one who has posted here has utilized that resource. Do you have legitimate questions or concerns about the ruling or are you more interested in merely using this forum for no purpose other than that of a venue of attack?

    The Judicial Council takes its work very seriously and it shows in the fact that the vast majority of Senators and students, and every comment we have received from IU faculty and Staff has been very complimentary.

    Once again if anyone has any serious questions about the ruling they may feel free to email me any time. There may be students who have a legitimate interest in these kind of matters and I encourage them to learn about the Judicial Council.

    When I have my Chief Justice hat on, I will not be engaging in a flame war here with those who have no real interest in the Judicial Council. Those who post insults first and don’t ask legitimate questions as to our reasoning when they are given every opportunity to do so have made their intentions clear.

    Chuck Norton
    SGA Chief Justice

  62. Anonymous said

    Where are the official records of the proceedings? Hint: They aren’t in the SGA Office or on the website.

  63. Rashida Vindic said

    There are two listings about this ruling, both located on the SGA website. There are no official records regarding the Judicial Council at all, ever, before the current Council issued and posted the ones regarding this ruling on the website.

  64. Rashida Vindic said

    Ryan,

    Your good at quoting the Constitution. Show me the line that says you can impeach based on incompetencey? Where would that fall in the constitution? I don’t see it.

  65. Ryan said

    o_0
    umm, it it weren’t I would be appalled. Luckily, it is in a way.
    Let me put it in constitutional terms.

    Grounds for impeachment.
    II. Failure to follow the spirit of the Student Governmentr Association Constitution.

    Since the spirit is spelled out by the sections on powers and responsibilities, ie that the vp may only make commissions involving senators, it seems fairly straight forward this has been violated.

    Chuck, you made a defense of your position earlier in this discussion. No need to acquire one on special sga paper. If you feel there is something you have not shared that is relevant, feel free. Besides, the logic of your decision is fairly irrelevant as the constitution makes very clear.

  66. Rashida Vindic said

    Except that this commission was formed by the President not the VP. (It is on recorded that the VP was directed to form the committee for the President) You said the President has no written authority to do this but on the other side, there is no written authority denying this either. Many things happen in the SGA that there is no written authority for. Its an interpretation, once again. One you don’t agree with and hence forth want to impeach over. Not the way I would suggest dealing with your disagreement.

  67. Ryan said

    nope, the President had the vice president form the commission. If he did it would be an even more obvious problem, becuase he has no power to form commissions.

    “Many things happen in the SGA that there is no written authority for.”
    Well thats a problem, because this consitution has no ‘necessary and proper’ clause, as Mr Goldstein pointed out earlier. Impeachment is a legal option to pursue when a perceived violation has occurred. THis is definitely such a case. You may disagree with the findings of some, but till now it has been an exploration of legal rights to deal with the concerns. He has no written denial of his ability to stage a ritual sacrifice in the club room, but I think we can safely assume he would get in some trouble if he felt inclined to assume that power. (not implying anything about the president, simply taking the extreme of your argument)

    As I understand it, there is now a move to impeach Erkki in a retaliatory action. All he’s been doing is pursuing legal means to deal with a perceived abuse of power. So not only is there an issue of a legal concern with the processes, now there is retaliatory political action for doing so. Looks like someone is taking their political lessons from Karl Rove and the Plame affair, instead of any type of sense of civic responsibility.

  68. Rashida Vindic said

    Ryan,

    Sounds like you are in the “know”. Before I respond I would like to know the facts, who is being impeached and by whom. Will the Senator or someone come out and clarify the situation because it seems much of this is speculation.

  69. Ryan said

    haha, first time I’ve been ‘in the know’ for campus politics that I can recall. I’ve traditionally ignored them. I suppose that was an error on my part, I should have gone for senator some time ago. Sadly, this is my last semester.

    I was told the other day about the attack on Erkki, but considering some of the people involved in this I am not surprised.

  70. Erkki Kochketola said

    Ryan:

    We do have something like the elastic clause in our Constitution; SGA Const. Art. III, § 4.A5.a (“Shall represent the interests of the student body in conducting Student Senate business”). This, IMO, gives us the power to regulate the Judicial Council, since the Judicial Council has no rule-making power, that being expressly reserved to the Senate (“Shall introduce legislation for the consideration of the Student Senate,” id. § c; “Shall have the power to vote on Student Senate motions, bills, and resolutions,” id. § e). I’m willing to let the Judicial Council do the work, and submit their procedures for approval – but they’d better mind their p’s and q’s.

  71. Rashida Vindic said

    Ryan,

    You say the following gives the right for impeachment of the judicial council:

    Grounds for impeachment.
    II. Failure to follow the spirit of the Student Government Association Constitution.

    But the constitutions give this power to the Justices:

    Article 3 Section 4,A8a. Shall interpret and provide guidance as to the spirit of the Student Government Association constitution.

    So I am saying you can’t convict the constitution interpreters (justices) with failure to follow yours or a Senator’s interpretation of the constitution because they are given that power of interpretation, them alone.

    Senator:

    First off please clarify the impeachment issue for us all.

    Secondly, you are making some leaps in your logic. Taking out individual lines and ignoring others. Yes it says “Shall represent the interests of the student body in conducting Student Senate business” but it also says this about the President, “Shall serve as the chief spokesperson for students and student organizations at IUSB both within and outside the university community.” Your line gives you no power over the judicial branch. The sentence I listed is a stronger statement and I could say gives the President authority over the Senate or Judicial branch, but I am not. You need to stop play legislative superiority and just worry about your branch and let the others worry about theirs.

    You said it correctly when you said “IMO”. Unfortunately the only branch that gets to “interpret”(opinions), according to the constitution, is the judicial branch.

  72. Ryan said

    Hmm, I don’t see that as granting any powers though. More as a guideline for how matters should be approached. I can see it applied to how the senators deal with other bodies on campus and the sga, but not elastic in the manner that would allow additional powers to be taken, such as the creation of commissions. Though regardless, I think that passage is only relevant to senators.

  73. Ryan said

    Rashida, the constitution listed failure to interpret accoridng to the spirit, etc… as a reason for impeachment. So yes, they can be impeached for that. Even if they are interpreting it, if enough students feel they are interpreting it in a manner contrary to actual student interests then they can be impeached. It’s one of those checks you were talking about.

  74. Rashida Vindic said

    Ryan,

    It is not “failure to interpret”, it is failure to “follow the spirit”. What I am saying is that if they decide what the spirit is, it would be hard to then say there was a failure to follow there interpretation on their part. They can’t be impeached for their interpretation and that is not a check we were talking about. How would that translate to our US Supreme Court. If we dont like their ruling how do we get rid of them?

  75. Ryan said

    There actually is an allowance for removal of a supreme court jsutice, based mainly on incompetence. It’s virtually impossible to do, but it is on the books.

    Regardless, the SGA constitution provides us the recourse of removing justices if enough signature sare gathered. It gives some reasons for grounds for impeachment, but the overall reason is student demand. Thats how we find out if they are genuinly failing to ‘follow the spirit,’ so to speak. They certainly can be impeached for poor interpretation, if enough students feel it is ocntrary to the interests of the student body.

  76. Erkki KochKetola said

    Ryan:

    “They certainly can be impeached for poor interpretation, if enough students feel it is ocntrary [sic] to the interests of the student body.” I would quibble a bit with this formulation, and say instead that they can be impeached for poor interpretation, if enough students feel that their interpretation would result in a violation of federal or state law, IU policies and regulations, or the SGA Constitution. I say this because mere “poor interpretation” is insufficient, the interpretation has to result in violation of the letter and/or spirit of the law in order to be grounds for impeachment. We, the student body, must be at least minimally aware of what constitutes a violation of that law; a good example would be a court hauling someone in front of it because it makes adjudicating the case easier (as opposed to the person named in the complaint). As The Clash put it, “Know Your Rights.”

  77. Ryan said

    I would disagree Erkki, due to the ‘spirit’ clause.

  78. Rashida Vindic said

    Ok this is scary. I would agree with the Senator. It is not just about signatures. If that was the case anyone could be impeached based on a few disgruntle students. You need the signatures and be able to prove one of the areas listed as an impeachable case has been violate, such as the State, Local, or Federal law issue. Student demand is not enough at all.

  79. Erkki KochKetola said

    Ryan: Not every poor interpretation will be so egregious as to truly violate the spirit of the SGA Constitution. Unfortunately, this interpretation is that egregious. There’s a fine line between having a writing day and being so incompetent that you break the law.

    I think the Senate should establish clear expectations as to how Justices should behave. Since I’ve been guilty of some naughty behavior myself, and since these rules will not have been in force at the time of this decision, it clearly won’t matter for this issue. The Senate should also establish a clear code of conduct for members of the SGA.

    I’ll bring this up. Thanks for making me think of it.

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