---- If confirm, Youh would complete the southerners' control of the nation's highest court making it four. Out of the four Associate Justices of the Court, two are directly from the southeast, while another two have ancestry links to the region.
The possible confirmation of Associate Justice Sie-A-Nyene Gaypay Yuoh, as Chief Justice of Liberia, would put control of the national highest courts in the hands of Southeasterners.
The Southeasterners are native to Maryland, Grand Kru, River Gee, Sinoe, Grand Gedeh, and River Cess counties but this region of Liberia is extremely poor despite producing at least two of the country's presidents. And while President George Weah's nomination of Yuoh, a southerner by ancestry is not in violation of any law, however, it is a practice of bad governance, according to lawyers who spoke to the Daily Observer.
The Chief Justice designated was born in Montserrado County but is deeply connected to Maryland County as a result of her parents' ancestry. She is expected to while replacing the retired Chief Justice Francis Korkpor, who hails from Nimba County.
Article 67, of the country's constitutions, provides that "the Supreme Court shall comprise of one Chief Justice and four Associate Justice, a majority of whom shall be deemed competent to transact the business of the Court. If a quorum is not obtained to enable the Court to hear any case, a circuit judge in the order of seniority shall sit as an ad hoc justice of the Supreme Court."
The Constitution is then silent on the tribal and regional makeup of the court.
“The President's nomination to the Supreme Court Bench does not reflect regional confers legitimacy, on the top court,” the lawyers who Daily Observer spoke to on the condition of anonymity said. “Look President Weah himself is from the Southeast and four of the five justices are from the southeast. Maybe, he wants to have an influence on the court.”
According to the lawyers, while Weah did not break any law by having Southeasterners control the country's highest court, “his nomination is against the democratic tenet."
" Is the president telling us that there are no qualified lawyers from the other regions to serve as Chief Justice? This is wrong and it might stop. This is against public policy, which calls for the proliferation of representation of all sectors of the public entities," the lawyers added.
If confirm, Youh would complete the southerners' control of the nation's highest court making it four. Out of the four Associate Justices of the Court, two are directly from the southeast, while another two have ancestry links to the region.
The Chief Justice designate and Associate Justice Yussif Kaba are the two individuals with ancestry linked to the Southeast. Kabba's ancestry is from Rivercess County, though he was born in Montserrado County. While Associate Justices Joseph N. Nagbe and Jamesetta Wolokollie are natives of Maryland and Sinoe County respectively. Wolokollie and Youh were appointed to the bench by former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.
Youh, who is poised to get confirmed, would also complete the Southeasterners' control of the three branches of the current government. Weah hails from Grand Kru; House Speaker Bhofal Chambers is from Maryland, and Senate Pro-Tempore Albert Tugbe Chie is from Grand Kru County.
This would concentrate national power in the southeastern part of the country. And when asked during her confirmation hearing on August 26, Youh said she was not aware that the country’s three branches of government could be controlled by the Southerners.
Asking the question, Bong County Senator Prince Moye said: “You are aware that when the Senate passes on your nomination, we will have the heads of the three branches of government coming from one region of the country. Are you aware of that?”
Replying, Yuoh said: “No, if that is a fact, what can I say, is that against the law of the country, I didn’t check that.”
Historically, the southeastern region has enjoyed, dating back to President William Tubman is who the country's longest-serving president. Tubman was born in Harper, Maryland county. In 1980, Samuel K. Doe, a 28-year-old Master Sergeant, assumed power in Liberia by brutally murdering President William R. Tolbert Jr.
Doe who became Liberia’s first president of indigenous heritage came from Grand Gedeh county and was widely regarded for inflaming ethnic politics and ethnic division during his nearly 10 years of rule.
Meanwhile, the lawyers who the Daily Observer spoke to have described the Southerners' potential control as one against morality, and “marginalizing other regional groups, who have qualified lawyers."
"This is not about breaking any law, but it is about morality. So, if there is any dispute regarding land that involved Southeastern, which decision will the Southeastern justices go? " the lawyers asked rhetorically.