The UMKC Student Government Association (SGA) Supreme Court has decided to uphold the SGA Senate confirmation of Daphne Posadas as SGA’s new vice president, it announced on Dec. 7. The decision comes less than a week after SGA Senator Trenton Garza filed a petition against the confirmation, citing that the senate had “exceeded its discretion” in confirming a nominee without holding internal interviews.
Posadas, the former SGA chief of staff, was nominated immediately after the swearing in of former Vice President Mahreen Ansari as the new SGA president on Nov. 30. The senate confirmed her nomination in a nearly-unanimous vote, with Garza having cast the only vote against Posadas.
The court’s decision was made by only three justices, rather than the usual seven. The remaining four justices’ terms expired on Dec. 2, and the positions await nominees from Ansari. The three justices presiding were Chief Justice Alexander Higgenbotham, Justice Jasmine Ward and Justice Chase Ford.
The court ruled that because the vice president position is normally voted on by students, and not confirmed by the senate, it is not logical to require Posadas to undergo procedures that she would otherwise not have to go through.
Despite there being no evidence in the SGA Constitution to require an interview, the court explored whether or not there was an implied requirement for a hearing. Garza stated that senate bylaws have explicit mandates for Supreme Court nominees to undergo a hearing as an implied requirement.
However, the court stated that the explicit difference in the mandates for court and vice presidential nominees was intentional. If the processes for the court nominees were meant to apply to vice presidential nominees, the court said, the Constitution would have said so.
The court argued that Garza’s request to override the senate’s vote and Ansari’s appointment would be an abuse of the SGA’s judicial power.
Removing the current vice president is a very serious action, the court said, and one that should only be taken if absolutely necessary.
According to the court’s official opinion, Garza repeatedly argued that the SGA Constitution was poorly written, which the court refused to consider as an argument in the case. If Garza had a problem with the constitution, the court said, he should introduce changes in the senate.
Garza also argued that Posadas did not “receive proper debate or scrutiny” as there was no interview by an internal committee. However, the court argued that because she was questioned by the senate on the night of her confirmation, it took the place of an internal committee interview.
The court also argued that the senate knowingly waived the requirement for an interview by voting for Posadas.