By Attorney Keith Neville Asumuyaya Best
The American Colonization Society, (ACS) had made it clear from the very beginning, in the mid-1800s: “no,” the nation’s luminaries had insisted in simple English. “We want no ‘superior’ court like what the British had, that even they had to keep adjusting, (fiddling with, fine-tuning) to keep power manageable, (simple, easy to handle). Liberia will do it the American way – by sticking with a ‘Supreme Court, as we do,’” they said.
But even ‘Supreme Court’ carried some risk; the ACS member must have understood. However, confined to one separate and distinct branch — a good ways removed from the other two — promised some restraint, (control, limit) the erudite men must have reasoned amongst themselves.
That’s what they did, and they were right: no longer lumbering, the U.S. marches on. Not so Liberia. The story turned out differently, when it came to restraint and self-control, as we will soon see!
U.S. HYDRA FANGS BARED ON LIBERIAN SOIL
We mentioned above that U.S. statesmen took pains to spare this nation some of the challenges the U.S. political system faced, as well as lessons that U.S. History outlined. That history was in-the-making, given that the U.S. was itself, relatively young. So it would be some time, before Liberia could learn and benefit from either the negatives or the positives of the American political system that, in time, would impact Liberia.
With the U.S. Constitution limited to seven paragraphs at the start, American political history would lumber on as government powers and responsibilities overlapped, Stateside. Needless to say, conflicts and competitions routinely, (regularly) flared up between the three branches of government, as we discussed last week.
After one hundred seventy years as an independent nation, Liberians, over the past few months, found itself finally caught up in a storm of local reactions to the effects from the conflicts and competitions that had grown out of overlapping powers and responsibilities between two of the three separate, but equal branches of government. Those were (the Judiciary and the Legislature) that Liberia had inherited from the U.S., along with the Executive. The conflict had “hit the proverbial ‘fan.’”
THE CASE OF LIBERIA
It began with the 2017 presidential and legislative elections in Liberia. The Legislature had made the first move. Somehow, a dress-rehearsal idea worked it way into the mix. It would simulate, (reproduce, imitate) the real impeachment that would be undertaken later. The main subject targeted for the dress rehearsal was the then Speaker Alex Tyler.
But this time around, this new set of guys from the lower House were primed for and had zeroed in on the real target; there would be no fooling around! They meant business. They felt they had some real complaints against Justice Jan’eh: The Constance property case would factor in critically! So would the Austin Clarke/EcoBank case, we were informed. The lower House guys made their move for impeachment.
But, the Supreme Court Justices had not been caught unawares by the move by the lower House people. With keen eyes, they had watched the dress rehearsal that had targeted the then Speaker Alex Tyler. They also knew that Hon. Bhopal Chambers had been gunning for Justice Ja’neh.
Over the years, the Judicial Branch had seen things another way: “Beginning with a mind-game, they had concluded that there was a bit more to this infernal, (horrible, burning) ‘separate-but-equal’ equation, than ‘met-the-eye.’
They speculated about—something, that they felt was still there. It was inside; inside there, somewhere, they might have obsessed! “The Constitution had assigned this Branch—the Judiciary—the task of interpreting the Law; if they didn’t figure it out themselves, then who was going to do it for them?” They decided to make their move as well.
A few weeks later, a group of legislators tactically, were served something that forced them to do their own interpretation, and construction of a harmless-looking suggestion that came from the Supreme Court. As far as the Supreme court was concerned, the impeachment people could interpret it any jim way they wanted.
The suggestion came in the form of a normal-day, “hold on a minute” writ, that asked the pro-impeachment Legislators to show up for a little tete-a-tete (private talk between two parties).
Though written in a soft tone, what Chambers & Company heard, ordered them softly—but in no uncertain terms—to get off their butts and “report” to some imaginary court, popping up out of nowhere, (outside of the Judicial Branch of Government, as they knew it)! So, the group decided to defy an order that no agency under the sun possessed authority or power, enough to command (enforce, carry out) obedience to any such need or desire!
NOW, THEN, WHY HASN’T THE “SUPERIOR” COURT HELD CHAMBERS & HIS REBELS IN CONTEMPT?
That, of course, was what Chambers and his friends had been watching and waiting to see: whether the Superior Court had the chutzpah, (nerve, gall, or balls) to attempt to follow through and hold Gray, Chambers and Fallah in contempt, after calling the Supreme Court’s bluff, and telling the Bench and its Justices to walk chalk-line!
PROHIBITION: an order from the high court, forbidding one of its lower courts from deciding a particular case! Invariably, it has been suggested and encouraged, that this rule remains a purely judicial prerogative, involving none besides the court, the requesting party, and individuals to whom the order, decree or writ, was directed.
(TO BE CONTINUED; FRIDAY’S SNEAK-PEAK BELOW…)
Meanwhile, the Chinese people say the money for the upcoming “fine, when decreed,” is on its way already! Then, the Representatives from the ‘Huss’ who only there to eeh, can divide it! Jewel say they inside: they got their part of ‘Huss’. The ‘Huss’ of Senate. Dah their time to eeh, too. THEY started this eeh gbinez! Wiah people know what she means. And they will eeh pro-pooh!