Mr. Editor, and Mr. Solicitor General of Liberia:
Mr. Arthur Johnson´s petition to the Supreme Court to determine the constitutionality of the chairperson and co-chairperson-designate of the National Election Commission (NEC) who were recently nominated to steer the affairs of the NEC for the next seven years, DOES NOT qualify for debate nor any hearing by the Supreme Court of Liberia and any country’s Supreme Court adhering to Anglo-Saxon’s jurisprudence. For;
- Both Arthur Johnson and Lewis Brown are acting out of sheer ignorance and prejudice in the spirit of criticizing for criticism sake. That is;
- As a lawyer and as former ambassador, both Arthur and Lewis should take into consideration the limitations of Supreme Court’s Judicial Review, and certain rules within legal methodology vis a vis the applicability of the relevant laws or statutes relating to this issue on the constitutionality or unconstitutionality of the chairperson and co-chairperson-designate of the National Election Commission (NEC) who were recently nominated to steer the affairs of the NEC for the next seven years. Accordingly;
- We through this letter like to point out that while it is true and constitutionally correct that citizens and courts can challenge presidential or legislative actions (eg. nominations/confirmations) on the grounds that the given presidential or legislative actions conflict with existing laws, or with the Constitution, there are limitations to such challenges or judicial reviews! And such limitations on judicial review and challenge emanating from citizens or courts are;
- The Live Controversy Rule, Standing to Sue, Political Questions, and the Rules for Judicial Interpretation. As hinted supra, such limitations on citizens´ or courts´ challenge are also accompanied with a litany of legal methodological rules as The Plain Meaning Rule, The Absurdity Result Limit, The Plain Meaning and Legislative History, The Social Purpose Rule, The Context of Statutory Language, The Negative Implication Rule, and of course, the Ejusdem Generis Rule of Lenity, The Interpretation to Avoid Unconstitutionality, Interpretation in the Light of Fundamental Values, etc. etc.!
Accordingly, it shocks the conscience that these two compatriots who are been referred to as ambassador and “venerated lawyer” are demonstrating ignorance or pretending to be ignorant of the Absurdity and the Limits of Literalism or the Absurd Result Principle in Statutory Interpretation, while also failing to realize or acknowledge that either of them, according to such limitations on judicial review, they (Brown or Johnson) do not qualify for judicial review in this matter when taking into consideration the principles and dictates of the live and controversy rule, and standing to sue, or asking/petitioning “the Supreme Court to determine the constitutionality or unconstitutionality of the chairperson and co-chairperson-designate of the National Election Commission (NEC) who were recently nominated to steer the affairs of the NEC for the next seven years”!
In other words, or that is, these two compatriots need to assimilate that in terms of THE STANDING TO SUE OR ASK THE SUPREME COURT FOR SUCH DETERMINATION, they, weather individually or collectively do not qualify to have any hearing on this matter from the Supreme Court, since the requirement of STANDING TO SUE relates to the need for real conflict between real adversaries. And there is absolutely no such scenario here where there is a real conflict between Johnson or Brown and any real adversary or adversaries!
On the LIMITATION of Standing to Sue which also relates to the need for real conflict between real adversaries, Johnson and Brown seeking judicial review CANNOT SHOW that this situation – the nomination/confirmation of the two NEC officials adversely affects Brown or Johnson’s legal rights in a personal way. And they cannot sue in the interest of whichever community, etc. etc. Nor can these two guys show that the presidential action or senatorial action they claim to be challenging, in anyway injures them personally.Cllr. Gongloe and Dr. Tipoteh need to remind them that they and their claim do not qualify for debate or attention of the Supreme Court when taking into consideration they constitutional principles and limitations of Judicial Review!
Now, having asserted and demonstrated the disqualification and eligibility of these two fellows and their claims to wanting attention from the Supreme Court, we now turn to the legal methodology proving the so called challenge of Brown and Johnson baseless and lackadaisical, or even frivolous and groundless.
That is a court will always avoid an interpretation of a statute that might result in its being unconstitutional. That is added to the constitutional mandate (SHALL) vis the rights and powers of the President in Article 56, it must and will always be presumed by courts that the framers or the legislature (in line with common sense or conventional wisdom) naturally anticipated exceptions to its language. For the reason of the law prevails over its letter! And this is why despite the cause of removal or the 7 years tenure, there is no where whether statutorily or constitutionally, where the nomination or confirmation by the President and the Senate is prohibited!
On top of that, people should assimilate that in terms of the presumption about the use of statutory or constitutional language the negative implication rule should be taken into account.
And this is that an important maxim close to the heart of the limited common law view of statutes is expression unius est exclusion alterius: the expression of one thing implies the exclusion of others!
Hence, with such unstoppable force and powers of the “pleasure power”, and the constitutional mandatory language of the word SHALL, not to talk about the phenomena of reason and necessity or the intent and obviously anticipated exceptions expected by whether the constitutional or statutory framers, the nomination of the chairperson and co-chairperson-designate of the National Election Commission (NEC) who were recently nominated to steer the affairs of the NEC for the next seven years, is highly and supremely constitutional!
Furthermore, those having a divergent view or opposing opinions on the nomination and or confirmation of chairperson and co-chairperson-designate of the National Election Commission (NEC) who were recently nominated to steer the affairs of the NEC for the next seven years, because of whichever statutory provision need to take into account the relevant context of statutory language or the cannon EJUSDEM GENERIS which “fires” that where general words follow an enumeration of specific items, the general words are read as applying to other items akin to those specifically enumerated! By this we are referring to the relationship of Article 89 and Article 56 of the Liberian Constitution, and their related provisions of the Elections Law of Liberia.
Still further, people must take into account THE SOCIAL PURPOSE RULE when dealing with this nomination/confirmation of the chairperson and co-chairperson-designate of the National Election Commission (NEC) who were recently nominated to steer the affairs of the NEC for the next seven years.
Under the social or legitimate purpose rule, a statute will be construed to effectuate the legitimate or social purpose it was designed to accomplish. That is despite the wordings viz cause of removal or years of tenure, neither the nomination nor the confirmation has nor can ever violate the statute or even set and “dangerous precedence” as Brown and Johnson fraudulently want others to believe. FOR THE EVIL, WRONG, ILLEGALITY, OR UNCONSTITUTIONALITY, which the statute (eg. cause of removal, /7 year tenure) is directed is wrongful, unnecessary, or unreasonable, removal, which would be contrary to the intent of the framers of the Constitution and the legislature enacting such statute!
And not such nominations/confirmations of the chairperson and co-chairperson-designate of the National Election Commission (NEC) who were recently nominated to steer the affairs of the NEC for the next seven years, which are in conformity and consistency with the legal methodological rules articulated supra, and the major schools of legal thought – The Natural Law School, The Positivist School, and the Legal Realism School of Legal thought! According to these schools of legal thought, neither is law arithmetic or mathematics, nor are courts and judges traffic lights! Meaning, when applying the law, natural, moral, universal etiquette, and the given circumstances must override the mere letter of the law!
Hence, despite the fact citizens and courts can challenge presidential/governmental/legislative actions on grounds that such actions may conflict with existing laws, or with the constitution, such limitations or cannons of interpretation viz judicial review as the live controversy rule, standing to sue, political questions, and rules for interpretation (eg.negative implications rule, legitimate purpose rule, “absurdity” limit principle) have long been erected in especially Anglo Saxon jurisprudence (of which Liberia is a part) to dismiss such chimerical, lackadaisical, frivolous, and groundless claims made by our two compatriots!