Simple Logic and The Law: The Judiciary, Legislature, and Even The Executive: Ain’t Gah No Fish To Fry With Each Other!

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Temple of Justice.jpg
Temple of Justice, home of the Supreme Court of Liberia

Except When Otherwise Decreed

By Attorney Keith Neville Asumuyaya Best

Prohibition: an order from the high court, forbidding a lower court or tribunal from deciding a particular case. And that’s the law!

Given the above, it could be easily be assumed that this definition settles once and for all, the question of whether the Supreme Court stepped outside of its “jurisdiction” to engage the Legislature in a game to see who would be the first to back down, in the Court’s attempt to get the Legislators a few yards away, to talk things over.

The Court — all things said and done — obviously had waded into waters not often ventured into, with the ‘writ of prohibition’, the Justice in Chambers had decided to accommodate, upon request by Justice Ja’neh’s counsel.

But that is not to say that something like this hadn’t been done before. According to Black’s Law Dictionary, “while ‘separation of power’ is key to the workings of American government, no democratic system exists with an absolute ‘separation of powers.’” By the same token, there is “no absolute lack of ‘separation of powers,’” either!

“Government powers and responsibilities… overlap. As a result, there is an inherent, (built-in) measure of competition and conflict among the branches of government. Through American history, there has been an ebb and flow of prominence among the government branches… as part of an evolutionary process,” the dictionary explained.

THE LEGISLATIVE TRIO

But this time around, the guys from the Legislature were not fooling around! They meant business. What made it serious was that they really felt the had a number of things on Justice Ja’neh. It is obvious that they had spotted an opening.  Considering the Constance land case, they believed that an opportunity to generate (create, produce) an edge for the Legislature — as this column already had pointed out — had been sensed by those members of the legislature, who still remain in hot pursuit of Justice Ja’neh, in their bid to get him impeached.

As far as that goes, it should not go unsaid, that this paper has no direct fish to fry in the competition and conflict mentioned early in our analysis, that has flared between these two branches of government.  We, however, remain undeterred when it comes to our commitment to justice, the right to a day-in-court and any other right denied any citizen, that in this particular situation, could be proved to have been carried out by Justice Ja’neh.

Like most of our citizens, the Justice will have his day in court, and will have and will enjoy the ‘due-process he is entitled to, that the court system will not deny him in the process of being freed from guilt for anything he might be wrongly accused of doing.

With that in mind, allow us to proceed with the word “prohibition,” which is derived from its prime (first in time, order or sequence). As the ‘prime’ word: “prohibit,” was passed down to us in the form of — or, as well as from — two Latin words that mean, [pro, in front + habere, to hold]. This word factors prominently in the case at bar.

PROHIBIT

Together, the two Latin terms farm out the second (2) meaning in the definition, that tells us what the word “prohibit” says, or communicates (passes on while doing what it has been tasked to do: take action, by “holding something in front (of) something else”; “to hinder” or prevent that person, thing or action, from moving on.  “Holding (it) back” — keeps him or it in check, and prevents said person, thing or activity, from moving on or passing through.

Needless, to say, the first (1) definition (meaning, description, sharpness) that follows the word: “Prohibit,” issues or sounds out a caveat, (warning, limitation) that is the quintessence (the soul, the heart) of sharpness: Again, this first definition makes it plain (1) TO PROHIBIT, meaning: TO FORBID, (BUT ONLY) BY AUTHORITY (keep your eye on the word: “authority”)!

Thus: proclaiming itself with such clarity that — well in advance, the Law understood ab initio, (from the beginning) cannot and must not be ignored. Why? Because the true meaning of “prohibit” goes farther, thereby, better manifesting itself in the broader definition of “PROHIBITION” — itself, a veritable law, order or decree, that again, forbids something.

PROHIBITION: An order from the high court, forbidding a lower court or tribunal from deciding a particular case; period! (Courtesy of Reader’s Digest Universal Dictionary!

But, under the ‘Law Section’ of the definition in Reader’s Digest Universal Dictionary, the framers of the lexicon, (dictionary) go out of their way — again, to instruct, that the key word is: “authority;” and to lose sight of this — as was also true about “prohibit and the lower court,” would be a mistake.

Prohibition does not apply, cannot function and is irrelevant, when used by one branch against the other; it only works correctly when the Supreme Court is controlling an agency that is lower than itself which, naturally, would be found within its own system or sphere!

What does this mean? That anything that smacks of prohibition, is non-existent between these three branches of government, given the polarity, (schism, split) amongst them.

Each is separate — as far as individual functions are concerned, and equally-distinct; in addition, each is equally powered, by the power-base each has been assigned, and, therefore, commands; needless to say, this power must be exercised without any interference, hindrance, or delay.

It is again, under the “law section,” that the bigger, (more inclusive) word: “prohibition,” renders separateness and distinction amongst the three branches more pronounced, leaving each in a realm almost of its own; (take a look): an order from the High Court, forbidding a lower court or tribunal from deciding a particular case. That is all to it!

In essence, case would easily be understood to apply to any part or aspect of a given matter, as is well understood and applied in the legal profession, time and time again. What is important in the definition of “prohibition,” is that it only operates within the court system, not horizontally — since there is only one High Court; one that operates perpendicularly — from higher to lower, within a uniform court-system.

For impeachment and other unusual developments, authority from the Constitution has distributed amongst the three branches, to help ensure due-process, fair play, justice and right, and anything not anticipated. Therein lies the genius, (brilliance, intelligence) of the court system, in its objective maturation, (growing-up) process. Thus, operating across the court, to another sphere, should not hold, as has often been discouraged.

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