Entire Senate to Conduct Nagbe’s Confirmation Hearing

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Associate Justice-designate, Sinoe County Senator Cllr. Joseph Nagbe

All ‘crucial bills’ to be voted and debated on next week

To the consternation of many Senators, Pro-Tempore Albert T. Chie on Tuesday, August 14, declared that confirmation hearing for Supreme Court Justice-designate, Senator Joseph Nagbe, a lawyer by profession, will be conducted by the entire Senate on tomorrow, August 17, after converting itself into a committee of the whole.

The motion was proffered by Bomi County Senator Morris Saytumah, a member of the Judiciary Committee. He had just returned from holding discussion with the Senate Pro-tempore Chie.

The communication submitted by President George Weah nominating Sen. Nagbe was earlier read by Senate’s Secretary, J. Nanborlor F. Singbeh.

The Chairman of the Senate Committee on Judiciary, Claims, Petitions and Human Rights, Grand Cape Mount Senator Varney Sherman, along with few other Senators, argued that the confirmation hearing like all such proceedings, should be handled by the relevant committee, in this case the Judiciary.

“I will not attend that hearing, the Judiciary Committee should conduct the hearing while Sen. Nagbe, as co-chair, recuses himself,” Sen. Sherman in a more surprised, and angry mood declared.

The nominee was present in Chamber while the heated argument ensued, and at one instance, he was seen in deep conversation with his chairman, who still posed an uncompromising look.

Amid the continuing argument and in an apparent reaction to Sen. Sherman’s earlier statement of not attending the confirmation hearing, Pro-Tempore Chie announced that the confirmation will be done in public, and will start at 12:00 noon, to be under the gavel of the presiding officer.

Meanwhile, actions on some of the so-called ‘crucial bills’, as were promised three weeks ago, failed to take place again on Tuesday; rather, for instance, the Judiciary committee, through Sen. Sherman, informed the Senate plenary that work on the Alien, and Nationality Law has been completed, and that final report would be presented to plenary on next Thursday for voting process.

The chair on the committee on Lands, Mines, Energy and Environment, Senator George Tengbeh of Lofa County, assured plenary that sufficient consultations have been held with stakeholders, and that his committee is now ready for Senate’s final action next week. Senator Conmany B. Wesseh, in the absence of his chairman, the committee on Internal Affairs, Good Governance and Reconciliation, Senator G. Gbleh-bor Brown, verbally informed plenary, that the controversial Local Government Bill is finally ready for passage next week.

Presidents’ Day

A Bill calling for the repealing of the Acts creating Liberia’s first President Joseph Jenkins Roberts and William V. S. Tubman birthdays, and to create in lieu thereof, an Act establishing Presidents Day, was on Tuesday read before plenary.

The bill, sponsored by River Cess County Senator Francis Saturday Paye, in the communication is requesting that, instead of limiting honor and recognition to only two former presidents, there were other presidents, who during their tenure contributed immensely to the growth and development of the country and, as such, a single day set aside to remember of them will not be too much to give.

The bill, if passed and enacted into law, will recognize the third Friday in November as Presidents’ Day, and will be observed as National Holiday.

The Presidents’ Day Bill was first submitted to the Senate by Vice President Jewel Howard Taylor, during the 53rd Legislature but, like many potentially important bills, has been gathering dust in committee room.

2 COMMENTS

  1. Thanksgiving day is the 2nd Thursday in November, and then another holiday the following week? How dense could our senators be in proposing such? These do-nothing senators must really love idleness. If only those buggers knew the cost of an idle day to government in terms of revenue lost, perhaps they would think twice before passing these bills into law. What a curse?

  2. I observed two things from the story’s description of events in the Senate. The first that the nominee, who is co-chair of the Judiciary Committee appears to have been arguing with the the Committee’s Chairman, Senator Sherman. It appears the nominee is in favor of ignoring the Senate’s own procedures for the Senate’s process in considering the nomination. The question is, if he’s confirmed, will his rulings on the Court treat Court’s precedent, procedures and processes as it appears he’s arguing for in the Senate?

    The second point is the role of the President Pro Tempore with respect to procedures and processes of the Senate. This position is there to lead the Senate on procedural items. So I’m surprised that he would ignore the initial procedure in the confirmation process of having the Judiciary Committee hold a hearing as suggested by the Committee’s Chairman. It’s even troubling that it appears he made the decision after meeting with other Committee’s members, away from the Chairman.

    Just my thoughts on how to uphold the appearance of credibility and mitigate reputational risks of the Senate as a credible institution. We’re talking about confirmation of someone to the Supreme Court.

    I’ll also hope the Legislature can organize its leadership structures where each chamber selects a majority leader from the party with the majority in each chamber and a minority leader from the other parties. This could make negotiations more fruitful and helps build consensus. For example, if all the other parties select one leader to build consensus amongst them, it forces the majority party to reach a compromise on important issues of governance, the economy and constitutional matters.

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