House to File Impeachment Against Justices August 30

18
2085

The Seats of the Legislature and the Judiciary

Even if it threatens to affect the legislative agenda of the 53rd Legislature – majority members of the House of Representatives with few members of the Senate will pursue an impeachment against Associate Justices Kabineh Ja’ Neh, Jamesetta Howard-Wolokillie, and Philip A.Z. Banks, III, justifying that the Legislature is doing its mandate under the 1986 Constitution.

With 17 days to go to the formal ending of the 53rd Legislature (August 30), about 37 Representatives – constituting a simple majority of the House is willing to affix their signatures to the impeachment case against the three Associate Justices, House’s Majority Bloc Leader Rep. Numene Bartekwa told the Daily Observer exclusively.

He made the remark after he proffered the motion to endorse the Draft Resolution of the Impeachment.

“The Impeachment will be prepared before the 30th of August,” two other lawmakers said in a chorus during Tuesday and Thursday’s sessions.

The Legislature, according to its Rules and Procedures, adjourns for an annual break on the 30th of August each year and constitutionally returns to work the second working Monday in January (Article 32a).

Draft Resolution
On Tuesday, August 8 – in the 52nd day sitting, members of the House of Representatives endorsed a Draft Resolution setting out the rules for the impeachment proceedings, based on a recommendation from its Committee on Judiciary, chaired by Atty. Worlea Saywah Dunah of Nimba County District # 7.

Rep. Dunah told Plenary that a writ of summons was issued to each of the three Associate Justices.

According to his report, the law gives ten (10) days for answer/returns to be filed in civil cases. This indicates that the Associate Justices have up to August 14 to file their returns.

The report indicated that the Draft Resolution set out the rules to govern the impeachment of Justices Kabineh Ja’Neh, Jamesseta Howard-Wolokollie and Philip A.Z. Banks, III and it states that failure on their part to file their returns within ten (10) days; a declaration of default shall be rendered against them.

Accordingly, the Judiciary Committee of the Honorable House of Representatives shall cause a preliminary hearing to be held where the petitioners shall be given the opportunity to orally present their petition, and the three Associate Justices shall be given the opportunity to defend themselves.

It may be recalled that the Judiciary Committee was mandated last Thursday, 3 August by Plenary to review and advise the August Body on the way forward to the impeachment of Associate Justices Kabineh Ja’ Neh, Jamesetta Howard-Wolokillie, and Philip A.Z. Banks, III.

Several lawmakers from the Senate and House of Representatives submitted a petition calling for the impeachment of the three Associate Justices for allegedly violating their oath of office by engaging in misconduct, gross breach and inability to perform their functions.

Final Resolution before August 30?
In spite of the appeal by President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf in the legal tussle overwhelming the Legislature and the Supreme Court, the House is expected before August 30 to draw the impeachment.

Justices Kabineh Ja’neh, Philip A. Z. Banks, III and Jamesetta Howard Wolokollie are expected to appear before Plenary to show cause (s) why they should not be held for impeachment.

The Legislature’s action grew out of the unanimous decision of the Supreme Court in the Harrison Karnwea vs National Elections Commission in which the Court ruled that Mr. Karnwea’s failure to resign his post as managing director of the Forestry Development Authority two years prior to the October 2017 elections was not egregious in nature as he was in substantial compliance, having resigned after the court had ruled the Code of Conduct constitutional in the case of Selena Mappy-Polson vs The Government of Liberia.

The House, which thinks that the Supreme Court had erred in its ruling, through its Judiciary Committee indicated that the three members of the Supreme Court who signed the opinion and judgment of July 20, in Karnwea’s case, have caused the Supreme Court to usurp the power and functions of the Legislature to make laws.

However, the Judiciary said on Wednesday that the House does not have the constitutional authority to cite any Justice of the Supreme Court in connection with any petition for impeachment or to impeach any Justice of the Supreme Court. It said the act is unconstitutional and therefore void of any legal validity.

The Supreme Court contended that by virtue of Article 73 of the Constitution, the House’s decision is without the force of the law and therefore challenged the House to appear before the full bench of the Supreme Court to defend the constitutionality of their action. The Supreme Court said in view of Article 66 of the Constitution, it is clothed with the power as the final arbiter of all disputes and hence any attempt by any person or institution, including any of the other branches of government, to review the final decision or judgment of the Supreme Court, is unconstitutional.

Continuity
Regardless of whether the current Senate of the 53rd Legislature could ensure the impeachment proceeding of the three Associate Justices, the House of Representatives believes that the government is continuity.  Therefore, as both Houses of the Legislature take their final annual break on August 30, the Senate in the 54th Legislature is expected to continue the proceedings.

Article 71 of the 1986 Constitution says: The Chief Justice and Associates Justices of the Supreme Court and the judges of subordinate courts of record shall hold office during good behavior. They may be removed by impeachment and conviction by the Legislature based on proved misconduct, gross breach of duty, inability to perform the functions of their office, or conviction in a court of law for treason, bribery or other infamous crimes.

Lawmakers Divided on Social Media
Montserrado County District # 8 Representative, Acarous M. Gray has expressed his disagreement with the impeachment of the three Associate Justices on social media.
“I am in total disagreement on this one,” Rep. Gray said. “Colleagues, should we impeach the President for not encouraging her appointees to resign or get dismissed for not implementing the Code of Conduct or should we impeach those of our colleagues who have their family members in their employ at the Legislature?

“Whether we like it or not, it speaks volumes to intimidation and a punishment for their judicial opinion which is a constitutional right given to them and us by the people of Liberia. Again I do differ and hope that we will not reduce the judiciary to a legislative puppet for opinions expressed.”

Representatives R. Matenokay Tingban and George S. Mulbah, however, defended their action to impeach the three Associate Justices on social media.

“Anybody can be impeached if a violation of certain part of the law attributed to a particular person or persons requires that,” Rep. Tingban said.

Responding to Rep. Gray’s dissatisfaction, Rep. George Mulbah wrote: “Carry your vote.”

For his part, Rep. Larry P. Younquoi, who claimed to be neutral in the debate, stated: “We haven’t seen anything yet. The Tyler saga was a litmus test to what is obtaining today. With the Code of Conduct obliterated and the Supreme Court under threat of being impeached, we are beginning to sense what will obtain at the end of the transition.

“However, it is not late for the Liberian people to put their lost steam back on track. Let’s stop the mudslinging and name calling in order to give our burgeoning democracy and the workability of our Constitution a chance.”

In the upper house, Senators Dan Morais and Peter Coleman are leading the campaign for the impeachment of Justices Kabineh Ja’ Neh, Jamesetta Howard-Wolokillie, and Philip A.Z. Banks, III.

18 COMMENTS

  1. There is absolutely nothing the President of Liberia can do in this case; unless she is a
    dictator as had bee alleged. Even with that, she can not do anything at all or her
    Government is down with no democratic and freedom in practice at all. Yes, she
    expressed her anger. So what? The Legislators have their constitutional duty to do,
    different from the Executive; except that the President want to widen her micro-managing
    of the country. But what happen at the end of day?

    • I strongly believe that Numene Bartekwa and his cronies who have endorsed V.P. Bokai are doing everything to cause problems with this coming election. Don’t be surprised to see those same legislatures trying to challenge the results of the Presidential election. All they are doing right now is LAYING THE GROUNDWORK OR FOUNDATION FOR A CREDIBILITY ISSUE with the Supreme Court. But the Liberian people should not allow this. There should be no hearing on this impeachment issue until after the election and all winning candidates have been installed in office. This I believe can be done by the Chief Justice of the supreme court pursuant to ARTICLE 43 OF THE CONSTITUTION. I personally want and hope for the Chief Justice to sit on this impeachment case until after the election.

      According to ARTICLE 43 OF THE CONSTITUTION, When the President, Vice President or an Associate Justice is to be tried, the Chief Justice shall preside; when the Chief Justice or a judge of a
      subordinate court of record is to be tried, the President of the Senate shall preside.
      Now, since the Chief Justice was also a signatory to this RULING that Bartekwa and his Cronies are all upset about, he is also part of this case. On the other hand, the President of the Senate cannot preside over the impeachment process of the Chief Justice because he is running for Office and it is in his interest that this impeachment case was brought forward. Why do I say so, HE WAS ENDORSED BY THEM few weeks ago.

  2. That is the way to go, honourable patriots of The Legislature! These people need to assimilate that inter alia:

    (1)The INHERENT POWER CLAUSE of Article 1 of Chapter 1 of the Liberian Constitution, THE NECESSARY AND PROPER CLAUSE of Article 34 M of the Liberian Constitution, are the most supreme and elastic clauses, without which the supremacy clause of Article 2 of the very chapter 1 of the Liberian Constitution would be non-existent!!!!

    (2) That Articles 65, and 66, of Chapter V11 of the Liberian Constitution (viz the Supreme Court being the final arbiter of constitutinal issues) are in both the letter and spirit of the constitution, far far subservient or subordinate to article 1 of chapter 1, Article 34 M, of the Liberian Constitution, and article 43 viz the bill of impeachment powers of the House of Representatives as manifestly evident especially in the language of Article 71, and the EXCEPTIONAL CLAUSE (the 52nd word “except”) at the end of the first wordings or readings of the very Article 73 they seem to not actually understand which implies and enumerates that:

    (3) Ipso facto the 52nd word “EXCEPT” of the very Article 73, judicial officials or justices of the Supreme Court can ALSO OR NEVERTHELESS/HOWEVER “be summoned (By the House of Representatives an Authority within the Legislature—article 43), arrested, detained, prosecuted or tried civilly or criminally” , and they judicial officials or justices may be removed upon impeachment and conviction by the Legislature based on proved misconduct (article 71)! for:

    (4) WHETHER “MISCONDUCT” in everyday life, or “MISCONDUCT” in service as unelected or elected officials, both a jurisprudentially meticulous and “scrupulous a “scrupulous review of the Liberian Constitution leaves no shred of uncertainty” (if we may quote the very justices) that the framers of the constituion, and the letter and spirit of articles, 43, 71, and 73, in particular, and the constitution in general have empowered the House of Representatives, the House of Senate, and or the Legislature in toto to:

    (5) based upon proved misconduct in everyday life, or proved misconduct IN LAW… in public service as they legislators my see such proved misconduct on the part of judicial officials or justices of the Supreme Court, summon, impeach, and convict, such judicial officials, for whether proved misconduct in every day life, or proved misconduct as judicial officials —-their wrongful, improper, and unlawful conduct in ” causing the Supreme Court to usurp the power and functions of the Legislature to make laws.”

    Honourable Legislators,the Liberian people, yea the great Liberian people at home and abroad, and all men of good will across the globe are very much proud of you! When the futire books are written, great historians will have to pause and fire like letters written in the skies, that yes, you legislators injected a true meaning into the ultimate rule of law, as perpendicularly opposed to the rule of men advocated By those culprit justices of the Supreme Court who have reduced such a great institution into some lawless law firm!

  3. Just a little reminder.When the Law Schools in American were finally opened to “negroes” and W.E.D Dubois and Thurgood Marshall earned their law degrees all hell broke out. Louis Arthur Grimes School of Law at the University of Liberia is now opened to all Liberians. Liberians are now conscious of their rights for the first time in our history. Therefore, be not afraid of the Constitution but apply it judiciously. It is the law of the “Liberated Liberia”.Allow it to work and it will flourish. Hope and pray that our institutions are strong to withstand the storm

  4. Our “institutions shall be strong to withstand the storm” when lawyers and their fellow educated bretheren within the Liberian intelligentsia are ready to remind justices of the Supreme Court that they justices of the Supreme Court make A BIG FOOL of themselves to believe that because they are called justices and their office is called Supreme Court, or because of been delegated as final arbiters of constitutional issues, they justices are supreme. On the contrary, when it comes to supremacy of functions, the one who is constitutionally empowered to remove the other IS THAT WHOM IS SUPREME! AND IT IS THE LEGISLATUTE. SO, YOU JUSTICES BETTER JUST REPORT VERY FAST TO YOUR BOSSES…THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES!!!

    • There should be no hearing on this impeachment issue until after the election and all wining candidates have been installed in office. This I believe can be done by the Chief Justice of the supreme court pursuant to ARTICLE 43 OF THE CONSTITUTION. I personally want and hope for the Chief Justice to sit on this impeachment case until after the election.

      According to ARTICLE 43 OF THE CONSTITUTION, When the President, Vice President or an Associate Justice is to be tried, the Chief Justice shall preside; when the Chief Justice or a judge of a
      subordinate court of record is to be tried, the President of the Senate shall preside.
      Now, since the Chief Justice was also a signatory to this RULING that Bartekwa and his Cronies are all upset about, he is also part of this case. On the other hand, the President of the Senate cannot preside over the impeachment process of the Chief Justice because he is running for Office and it is in his interest that this impeachment case was brought forward. Why do I say so, HE WAS ENDORSED BY THEM few weeks ago.

  5. I strongly believe that Numene Bartekwa and his cronies who have endorsed V.P. Bokai are doing everything to cause problems with this coming election. Don’t be surprised to see those same legislatures trying to challenge the results of the Presidential election. All they are doing right now is LAYING THE GROUNDWORK OR FOUNDATION FOR A CREDIBILITY ISSUE with the Supreme Court. But the Liberian people should not allow this. There should be no hearing on this impeachment issue until after the election and all wining candidates have been installed in office. This I believe can be done by the Chief Justice of the supreme court pursuant to ARTICLE 43 OF THE CONSTITUTION. I personally want and hope for the Chief Justice to sit on this impeachment case until after the election.

    According to ARTICLE 43 OF THE CONSTITUTION, When the President, Vice President or an Associate Justice is to be tried, the Chief Justice shall preside; when the Chief Justice or a judge of a
    subordinate court of record is to be tried, the President of the Senate shall preside.
    Now, since the Chief Justice was also a signatory to this RULING that Bartekwa and his Cronies are all upset about, he is also part of this case. On the other hand, the President of the Senate cannot preside over the impeachment process of the Chief Justice because he is running for Office and it is in his interest that this impeachment case was brought forward. Why do I say so, HE WAS ENDORSED BY THEM few weeks ago.

  6. According to the Daily Observer, August 14, 2017, “HOUSE TO FILE IMPEACHMENT AGAINST JUSTICES AUGUST 30″. ” In the upper house, Senators Dan Morais and Peter Coleman are leading the campaign for the impeachment of Justices Kabineh Ja’ Neh, Jamesetta Howard-Wolokillie, and Philip A.Z. Banks, III.” while Bartekwa, on the other hand, is in the lower house. NOW, I SEE WHY GRAND KRU COUNTY HAS BECOME THE WALKING COUNTY. Nothing is being done for Grand Kru. While other Legislatures from Nimba, Bong, Grand Gedeh, Lofa and Grand Bassa Counties are all about bringing development to their Counties (Paved roads, hospitals, clinics, and schools etc) some Grand Kru Legislatures are all about themselves. They are saying nothing about the development of Grand Kru. No paved roads in the Southeast. The Southeast will not develop until there is a Paved road from Buchana to Harper. I don’t want to hear nothing about “Feeder road”. Is your “Feeder road” paved?

  7. Strictly speaking to a group of people with limited idea about Law, “impeachment” means “accusation” or “charge”. Under our jurisprudence, the Chief Justice and Justices of the Supreme Court along with justices of subordinate Courts of records are removed upon impeachment and conviction by the Legislature based on proved misconduct, gross breach of duty, inability to perform the functions of the office, or conviction in a court of law for treason, bribery or other infamous crimes. The impeachment of Justices of the Supreme Court bench based on judgment rendered in a case confess to a very strong sense of dreadfulness of the step taken by the House of Representatives given the deep wounding such a step would inflict on our Country and the high-risk it would pose to us as a people.

    Firstly, l have not understood the cause for which members of the House of Representatives are yeaning for impeachment against three of our Associate Justices on the Supreme Court bench. I don’t want to guess on the Code of Conduct ruling that took place in the most recent. If that guess is the case for which elements of the House of Representatives are beating war drum against some members of the Associate Justices, I will say in plain language that either those guys lacked comprehension of the Constitution or some of them are being carried by backward elements. By actions of the House of Representatives, the Supreme Court is upright when they win a case but will refer in a more condescending way to that body when judgment is rendered in the code of conduct case that they created as a lead way to stop major contenders from contesting against them.

    Secondly, the bulk majority of those Representatives asking for the impeachment of three Associate Justices are people who endorsed the Vice President candidacy. I think those House of Representatives members wishing impeachment are unknowingly willing to accept Article 73 as part of our Constitution base on their limitation of our Law. We are waiting to see you elected out less to speak of impeachment without any moral rectitude whatsoever.

  8. They need to be kick out before our election otherwise, they will sell our country birthright to unmanageable politician .

  9. The Presendent getting upset because, she seen a big bubble bee flying in her living room and if, she don’t be careful, she will get hits on her neck.

  10. According to the Daily Observer, August 14, 2017, “HOUSE TO FILE IMPEACHMENT AGAINST JUSTICES AUGUST 30″. ” In the upper house, Senators Dan Morais and Peter Coleman are leading the campaign for the impeachment of Justices Kabineh Ja’ Neh, Jamesetta Howard-Wolokillie, and Philip A.Z. Banks, III.” while Bartekwa, on the other hand, is in the lower house. NOW, I SEE WHY GRAND KRU COUNTY HAS BECOME THE WALKING COUNTY. Nothing is being done for Grand Kru. While other Legislatures from Nimba, Bong, Grand Gedeh, Lofa and Grand Bassa Counties are all about bringing development to their Counties (Paved roads, hospitals, clinics, and schools etc) some Grand Kru Legislatures are all about themselves. They are saying nothing about the development of Grand Kru. No paved roads in the Southeast. The Southeast will not develop until there is a Paved road from Buchana to Harper. I don’t want to hear nothing about “Feeder road”. Is your “Feeder road” paved?
    Reply

  11. Yasa, the cause is that Philip Banks, Kabineh Janeh, and Jamesetta Howard wolokolie, who are senior stooges and puppets of Ellen Jhnson Sirleaf “caused the Supreme Court to usurp the power and functions of the Legislature to make laws.”

    Just think hard about the criminal and unprofessional manner in which they went about fumbling with section 51 and section 5.2 of the Code of Conduct CONCERNING KARNWEAY, SULONTEH, AND JONES.

    THIS WAS ALL ABOUT THE PERSONAL INTERESTS OF ELLEN, AMOS, PHILIP BANKS, AND AMOS SAWYER. ELLEN FOR THE RUNNING MATES OF BRUMSKINE AND CUMMINGS. SAWYER AND BANKS FOR THEIR MAN MILL JONES.

    FOR THEM NEITHER THE RELEVANT STATUTORY LAW, THE CONSTITUTION, NOR THE VOTERS MATTER. THEY BELIEVED NOTHING COULD STOP THEM. BUT GOD HAS STOPPED THEM.

    The three of them should be charged with at least 13 serious charges of MISCONDUCT, and subsequently impeached, convicted, and jailed for not less than six years. For good reasons we shall not enumerate those charges here.

    Ellen Johnson Sirleaf meant bad in proposing and signing the COC Law, but God meant good. And so all these things are enfolding….from exposing the selfish and unlawful mentality of Amos Sawyer to making judicial officials of the Supreme Court to know that article 65 of the Liberian Constitution does not make them to be above the law and the constitution.

    And on the other hand, as a deterrence to future presidents who would attempt to use justices of the Supreme Court as his or her personal lawyers ….just what justices of the Supreme Court have turned out to be…personal lawyers of Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.

  12. i’m surprised that legislators have decided to make a sheer mockery of themselves…and shocked that some people claiming to possess sound reasoning are fooling themselves into believing that any circus these legislators start and call it impeachment can have any legal effect in this case…complete jokers…these sponsers of the so-called “impeachment” motion!

  13. When the prosecutors (the House of Representatives) are encouraged by the judges or jury (the Senate) led by the Senate Majority Leader (Hon. Bartekwa), and the Senate Chairman on Foreign Affairs (Morais) with the obvious wish of its Chairman on Judicial Affairs (Sherman), you bet the defense(THE THREE JUSTICES SUMMONED BY THE HOUSE) is in serious trouble!!! So this does not look like any mockery nor circus, but an impeachment train on whose way it is suicidal to take for granted.

    This is exactly how it started with Richard Nixon until he resigned prior to impeachment. And this is also how it began with Bill Clinton, though he the “come back kid” survived when it reached the Senate. And indeed, this was how it started culminating into Alcee L. Hastings, a judge of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida when he was impeached by the House on a 413 to 3 vote on August 3, 1988.

  14. An anonymous philosopher once said, “The science of legislation is like that of medicine in one respect; viz.: that it is far more easy to point out what will do harm, than what will do good.”

    This piece of legislation called the “CODE OF CONDUCT” was drawn up with the intention of doing harm to certain political candidates. These would-be-banned candidates under the (COC) have the potential of being too competitive in this crucial election. This (COC) law was unjust and very controversial.

    The “Code of Conduct Law” reminds me of what big corporations do when they are very protective of their trade secrets. They come up with a “non-compete clause” or make employees sign a “covenant not to compete”. Such “non-compete” law prevents employees, who have valuable knowledge of the company, from entering into, or starting a similar profession, or trade that poses competition against their former employer.

    Our government fails to realize that the Liberian government is not a private entity that can restrict or ban employees for 2 to 3 years from exercising their constructional rights in our political process.
    The government may ask individuals, who are aspiring to run for political office, to resign but not to ban them from working for the government for 2 to 3 years. Even in the great U.S.A, which Liberia modeled its constitution after, will declare such COC Law unconstitutional.

    The COC was indeed an infringement on the Liberian people freedom and liberty to exercise their constitutional rights in the political process. The ulterior motive of the COC was not solely to serve as a deterrent to prevent government officials who were running for political office from misusing government properties to their advantage.

    The COC was enacted for an unscrupulous reason: to prevent political competitors from holding government positions while declaring their candidacy. The two to three years ban from government positions of government appointees who desire to run for political office was cruel and unjust punishment.

    These lawmakers who are calling for the impeachment of the three Associates Justices because the lawmakers are dissatisfied with the judges’ opinions in interpreting COC law are setting a bad precedence for future judicial opinions of the Supreme Courts.

    Our lawmakers are being selective when it comes to summoning the three Associate Justices. Why leave out the Chief Justice who was also a signatory in the decision rendered in the Karnwea eligibility case? Also, where were the lawmakers when one of their peers, Edwin Snowe, a sitting representative from Monsterrado County, who is concurrently running for a representative post in Bomi County?

    I would advise these lawmakers who are calling for the impeachment of these three associate justices to study these controversial cases of the USA. As much as these cases created some controversies, the decisions of the U.S. Supreme Court were respected.

    That’s why appointment and confirmation of Supreme Court judges play a vital role in the political system. Lawmakers just don’t ask for the impeachment of Supreme Court Judges whenever their opinions are not in line with the Supreme Court’s opinions.

    Here are few controversial cases of U.S. Supreme Court for our lawmakers to study:

    1. Brown v. Board of Education
    2. Roe v. Wade
    3. Miranda v. Arizona
    4. District of Columbia V. Heller
    5. Plessy v. Ferguson
    6. Dred Scott v. Sanford
    7. Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission
    8. Bush v. Gore
    9. Marbury v. Madison
    10. Lawrence v. Texas

    Disgruntled lawmakers, remember we have three branches of government for a reason: The Executive Branch, the Legislative Branch, and the Judicial Branch. These three branches of government have to be constitutionally rested. They have to co-exist under the Liberian Constitution in order for our Democratic system to function. May God bless The Republic of Liberia!!

  15. The call for the imoeachment is not because the lawmakers are disatisfied with the opinions or judgement of those judges, nor are there any similarities of the issues surrounding the cases you listed and those surrounding the call for this impeachment, nor are there any similarities of the conduct of those judges in the cases you listed and the conduct of these judges summoned by the lawmakers.

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