A senior lawyer strongly advised Chief Justice Francis Saye Korkpor not to attend, and or preside over what he considered as “contemplated” impeachment trial by members of the Senate against Associate Justice Kabineh Ja’neh, if lawmakers from the Lower House do not show-up during the hearing of Supreme Court’s Writ of Prohibition.
Cllr. Amara Sheriff believes that, for Justice Korkpor to preside over Ja’neh’s impeachment, demonstrates his clear violation of the Supreme Court orders, and “also send a clear message to the international partners that Liberia has serious political deficit, which is none adherence to the laws of the land. And, it would further erode the public treasury of the Court, which is ‘Confidence.’
“With the insults, condemnations, and degradation by the lawmakers, Justice Korkpor does not allow you to submit the Court and preside over the impeachment proceedings,” Sheriff said in a communication.
“You also have consented and yielded to the insults, degradation, condemnation of the Supreme Court, and have entertained their false believe that members of the House of Representatives are above the law in contradiction of Article 3 of the Constitution,” Sheriff told Korkpor.
Article 3 states that “Liberia is a unitary sovereign state divided into counties for administrative purposes. The form of government is Republican with three separate coordinate branches: the Legislative, the Executive and Judiciary. Consistent with the principles of separation of powers, and checks and balances, no person holding office in one of these branches shall hold office in or exercise any of the powers assigned to either of the other two branches except as otherwise provided in this Constitution; and no person holding office in one of the said branches shall serve on any autonomous public agency.”
Sheriff’s assertion was contained in a letter he submitted to Chief Justice Korkpor, and carbon copy to House Speaker Bhofal Chambers.
It was also in response to members of the House of Representative letter they wrote to the Supreme Court.
The High Court lawyer said the lawmakers’ action virulently attacked the Constitution and the Supreme Court and “it denigrate, ridicule, impair the dignity, integrity, and respect of and erode the constitutional powers, duties and responsibilities of the Court thereby destroying its public confidence that seem at stake.”
The lawmakers letter copy with the Daily Observer reads, “I present compliments and by directive of the Plenary of the Honorable House of Representative 54th Legislature (IN SESSION] have the honor to inform you that it is in possession of a paper served on it entitled, Writ of Prohibition by Your Honor Justice in Chambers Sie-A-Nyene Youh.”
The communication further says: “The Plenary of the House of Representatives has instructed me to further inform you for reasons set out below, that the House of Representatives does not intend to honor the terms or conditions of the Writ.”
It says, “The House thinks that the Writ violates Article 3 separation of powers clause and Article 42 immunities clause, Article 43 impeachment Powers and a long line of cases and precedence in this jurisdiction and its progeny.”
In conclusion, the letter advised, “You are therefore advised in the interest of our constitutional democracy and consistent with the separation of powers and checks and balances to vacate this Writ and avoid embarrassment to the sacred institution of the Supreme Court.”
Sheriff argued that the pre-requisite for Korkpor to preside over Ja’neh’s impeachment to execute this Constitutional mandate is for House to submit to another constitutional proviso which he said, the Supreme Court is the final and Court of last resort, whether the matter before it is political in nature or Justiciable matters.”
“One branch cannot claim rights granted to it by the constitution and require the other branch to respect those rights but at the same time disrespects, abuses, disobeys the other branch constitution granted rights, power, and authority. It doesn’t make sense today, tomorrow, and forever. Corresponding respects and full obedience to all of the laws of the land are true hallmark of democratic society,” according to Sheriff.
On the issue of the letter, Sheriff said, it was a national disgrace and total mockery to the rule of law in present day Liberia.
“The House letter has the propensity for civilized nations of the world to believe that Liberia is without rule of law given the virulent attack made on the country constitutional court,” he claimed.
“Why the House elected to sarcastic another branch of government by describing the Writ of Prohibition ‘a paper’ and purported Writ, he wondered.
Sheriff maintained that the Supreme Court’s response to the House’s letter of attacked was for the Court to “firmly exercise its Constitutional authority to re-direct the thinking of the House of Representatives in order to bring the august body under the barometer of constitution and statute laws of the Republic of Liberia.”