Snowe Can Run in Senjeh, Supreme Court Rules

9
2085
Snowe promised to pursue all legal means to contest in Bomi

Rep. Edwin Melvin Snowe of Montserrado Electoral District #6 yesterday won his case against Sen. Sando D. Johnson and Rep. Samuel Gayah Karmo of Bomi County and can now contest for the representative seat of Senjeh, Bomi County.

Justice Korkpor noted that one does not have to be domiciled in a district to register and vote in that district adding that one only needs to be a resident in the constituency in order to register and vote.
He stated that it made no difference whether or not the person is a sitting lawmaker in a district from a different district.

“There is no law that forbids a sitting representative of a constituency/district in one county from changing his/her domicile to another constituency /district in another county, while still serving as a representative of the constituency in the county to which he was elected.

That this court has no authority to extrapolate the intent of the framers of the Constitution beyond the plain and specific wordings of the provisions of the Constitution,” he said, “Therefore, where a constitutional provision, on its face, is so plain and unambiguous, it needs no further interpretation. In our view, had the framers of Article 30(b) of the Constitution intended for elected legislators to continuously remain domiciled in the county or constituency to be represented not less than one year prior to the time of election and during their tenure in the Legislature without changing their domicile, the Constitution would have so stated,” he added.

Justice Korkpor further said whatever the Constitution does not so expressly provide for cannot be placed on the court to consider because doing so would amount to lawmaking which is a function that lies in the authority of the National Legislature.

“Electoral districts are not created whenever a sitting legislator decides to register or contest for an elective post in a constituency other than the one he/she represents. That the ruling of the Board of Commissioners of the NEC dismissing the objection filed by Rep. Karmo and Sen. Johnson to the registration, nomination, qualification and certification of Rep. Snowe is hereby affirmed,” he said.

It may be recalled that on August 10, the Board of Commissioners (BOC) of the National Elections Commission nullified both Rep. Karmo and Sen. Johnson’s arguments and declared Snowe as the winner of the domicile and cross county voter registration complaints to the NEC hearing office.

Rep. Snowe meanwhile chose not to comment to the media after the ruling but his counsel Benedict Sannoh said the decision set an agenda for all citizens to understand that legal matters are not discussed outside of constitutionality.

“We are in a country of law and so whoever thinks he or she has a case against another person must be able to support his or her argument by law rather than mere sentiments,” he noted.
Reacting to the Supreme Court’s ruling Senator Johnson and Representative Karmo expressed their utter disappointment. “We accept the ruling because there is nowhere else to which we can take our case in this country but certainly this judicial branch has a lot to do in terms of being fearless, impartial and straightforward as it goes about announcing verdicts in sensitive and seriously legal-oriented cases,” Sen. Johnson told journalists on the grounds of the Supreme Court.

He said that their acceptance of the ruling does not mean any failure on their part but a precedence that all mature citizens will learn from as national elections continue to unfold. “I disagree with the Supreme Court’s ruling but (there is) nothing else we can do now. We will take it because we are interested in peace and protection of our democracy,” he said.

Author

  • David S. Menjor is a Liberian journalist whose work, mainly in the print media has given so much meaning to the world of balanced and credible mass communication. David is married and interestingly he is also knowledgeable in the area of education since he has received some primary teacher training from the Kakata Rural Teacher Training Institute (KRTTI). David, after leaving Radio Five, a broadcast media outlet, in 2016, he took on the challenge to venture into the print media affairs with the Dailly Observer Newspaper. Since then he has created his own enviable space. He is a student at the University of Liberia.

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David S. Menjor is a Liberian journalist whose work, mainly in the print media has given so much meaning to the world of balanced and credible mass communication. David is married and interestingly he is also knowledgeable in the area of education since he has received some primary teacher training from the Kakata Rural Teacher Training Institute (KRTTI). David, after leaving Radio Five, a broadcast media outlet, in 2016, he took on the challenge to venture into the print media affairs with the Dailly Observer Newspaper. Since then he has created his own enviable space. He is a student at the University of Liberia.

9 COMMENTS

  1. How does a person becomes a resident in the county when he has no place to reside. What the legal interpretation of this.
    Democile. Is the place where you lived
    Resident. Someone who lives in the county is the resident of the county

  2. The framers of the Constitution left the interpretation of the laws for the Supreme Court. There are times the law would be explicit, and there are times legal minds of the Supreme Court would have to infer, deduce or conclude the original meaning or intent of the law. Not all parts of the laws are explicit: some clauses of the Constitution are vague, ambiguous, or paradoxically too specific in meaning.

    What was the original intent of Article 30(b) of the Constitution? “Citizens of Liberia who meet the following qualifications are eligible to become members of the Legislature (b) be domiciled in the country or constituency to be represented not less than one year prior to the time of the election and be a taxpayer.”

    Right Justice Korkpor as you said, “That there is no law that forbids a sitting representative of a constituency/district in one county from changing his/her domicile to another constituency/district in another county while still serving as a representative of the constituency in the county he was elected.”

    If your refusal to interpret the difference between domicile and residence because those distinctions were not explicitly written in the Constitution, then what will you do, or the Supreme Court do when you have cases that deal with the intricacies of modern technology or words that are not in the constitution like electronic eavesdropping, wiretapping or unreasonable search and seizure?

    According to uslegal.com: “The concept of domicile has different meanings in different context. For purposes of jurisdiction, “domicile” means a legal residence which is the place where a person has fixed dwelling with an intention of making it his/her permanent home.”

    “Domicile is a combination of two factors namely, residence and intent to remain. As the term domicile includes residence, the scope and significance of the term domicile is larger than the term residence. An individual may have several residences whereas; s/he will have only one domicile. Domicile is more used in reference to personal rights, duties, and obligations.”

    In Snowe case, he has several residences but officially his domicile is in Montserrado County because he still represents that District. Yes indeed, he has all rights to change his domicile but you just gave him the right to have more than one domicile (not residence) at the same time which is only possible by virtue of Liberian Supreme Court ruling.

    There is an air of Constitutional biases in this case: his wife is also a member of the Supreme Court even if she recused her.

    disclaimer: I have no political affiliation in this matter.

  3. THIS IS A BULL SH8T RULING WHICH FULLY DEMONSTRATES THAT PHILIP BANKS IS A WORTHLESS, USELESS ASS! THE COURT DOES NOT MAKE LAWS, BUT INTERTPERATES IT! IF THE LAW IS SILENT ON AN ISSUE THAT IS A CLEAR CONFLICT IN THE REPRESENTATION OF OFFICIALS OF THE VARIOUS DISTRICTS DURING THE COURSE OF THEIR TENURE AS REPRESENTATIVES, WHERE THE DOMICILIARY OF CANDIDATES IS PERTINENT TO FAIRNESS AND APROPRIATENESS OF CANDIDATES VYING FOR POSITIONS IN SUCH DISTRICTS, THEN THE SUPREME COURT HAS AN “INTERPRETATIVE DUTY” TO CLARIFY PROVISIONS OF THE CONSTITUTION WHERE SUCH LAWS ARE INSUFICIENTLY LACKING! STATING THAT BECAUSE THE CONSTITUTION IS UNCLEAR AS TO WHETHER “DOMICILIARY OF CANDIDATES” IS RELEVENT TO THE FAIRNESS, AND JUST APPLICATIONS OF LIBERIA’S CONSTITUTION, IS ASININE, STUPID AND, AT WORSE, A DIS-SERVICE TO THE LIBERIAN PEOPLE!

  4. According to both the letter and spirit of Article 30 b or that which is enumerated and implied in Article 30 b of the Liberian Constitution, an elected legislator aspiring to run for the post of a legislator in another constituency or county other than that which he or she incumbently represents, is the same as any other Liberian citizen not a legislator aspiring to contest a legislative seat in a given county!

    Accordingly, the both categories of Liberian citizens (the elected legislator and the aspirant not an elected legislator) must be domiciled in the intended county, district, or constituency, to be represented not less than one year prior to the time of election, AND NOT DOMICILED IN ANY OTHER COUNTY, SINCE NO ONE CAN HAVE MORE THAN ONE DOMICILES! This is precisely what is enumerated and implied in Article 30 b of the Liberian Constitution.

    So, it is very disgraceful and very seriously embarrassing for justices of the Supreme Court (especially the Chief Justice himself) to stoop so low to assert that ““That there is no law that forbids a sitting representative of a constituency/district in one county from changing his/her domicile to another constituency/district in another county while still serving as a representative of the constituency in the county he was elected,” WHEN SUCH NEED NOT BE DONE, FOR SUCH FORBIDDANCE, OR PROHIBITION IS CLEARLY IMPLIED AND ENUMERATED IN ARTICLE 30 B, ITS RELATED OR PRECEEDING ARTICLES AND ENSHRINED THOUGHOUT THE VERY CONSTITUTION!

    Hence, the thinking or opinion of Francis Korkpor that “had Article 30(b) of the Constitution intended for elected legislators to continuously remain domiciled in the county or constituency to be represented not less than one year prior to the time of election and during the entire tenure in the Legislature without changing their domicile, the Constitution would have so stated,” IS

    (1) INTENDED TO MISLEAD, AND WHAT PROVES THIS IS THAT SUCH THINKING OR OPINION IS

    (2) BASELESS AND HAS ABSOLUTELY NO CONSTITUTIONAL XYLEM TO ARTICLE 30 B!!! NOR, DOES SUCH OPINION OR INTERPRETATION HAS

    (3) ANY LIGAMENTS TO THE REASONABLE MEANING OR ULTIMATE PURPOSE OF ARTICLE 30 B, NOT TO TALK ABOUT

    (4)THE LEGALITY OR FACTUALITY THAT DOMICILE AND RESIDENCE ARE NOT SYNANIMOUS, AND NO ONE CAN HAVE MORE THAN ONE DOMICILES AT THE SAME TIME, AS EVIDENCED AND PROVEN WITH THE FACT THAT RATHER THAN THE WORD “RESIDENT OR RESIDENCE” IT IS THE WORD DOMICILE THAT IS USED IN ARTICLE 30 B OF THE LIBERIAN CONSTITUTION.

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