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Editorial: Justice is not served

Published: October 5, 2007
Section: Opinions


According to the procedures outlined by the Union Judiciary of the Brandeis University Student Union, “The court expects all participating parties to be professional and courteous at all times.” The same should be said for the very court making the rules. The recent actions of Chief Justice James Ansorge '09 do not seem to meet this standard.

Following the closed executive session regarding the possible impeachment of Union Secretary Michael Goldman '08, individuals in the Student Union have attempted to oust Goldman with all of their might. In a brief submitted to the press by the defense team of Secretary Goldman to recuse Ansorge, there are a total of four sworn affidavits that display the Chief Justice's biased opinions regarding the proceedings. Ansorge took this to light and decided to recuse himself, a necessary action given his ties to one side of the case, and for this he should be acknowledged.

Yet in his letter proclaiming his recusal, Chief Justice Ansorge sounded off on the case, stating, “The issues presented in Maizlish v. Goldman are very serious and strike at fundamental values of our Student Union and of our Constitution. I have reason to believe that Michael Goldman, as Union Secretary, Chief of Elections,and Elections Commissioner, has disclosed running vote tallies of elections still in progress to numerous candidates for the purpose of giving that candidate an unfair advantage.” It is not the judge's job to become the plaintiff, and Ansorge has clearly crossed the line in this instance. Ansorge's remarks could further skew what is already a case that seems to be dominated by personal attacks and bias.

Also of significance is the fact that it was only after the brief was written that Ansorge decided to recuse himself. Throughout numerous decisions regarding the case, Ansorge was present and a factor in the issuance of rulings. Shouldn't Ansorge have declared that he had already taken a side when the UJ met to decide whether or not to grant the case certiorari, or when the case's procedural rules were established? On a case that has yet to be held, Ansorge has certainly had an influence on the rest of the Judiciary, and the other members of the Union.

For a court to remain truly non-biased, Ansorge's actions seem to be too little, too late. The case's proceedings have been established by a biased party, largely initiated by a biased party, and thankfully will not be conducted during the trial by a biased party. We can only hope that in the future Justices of the Union Judiciary are more careful about comments prior to a trial. Ansorge's comment in his announcement of recusal that “Elections that are free from corruption are the backbone of our faith in government” should also hold true to the UJ. As it stands, justice will only be had if the proceedings are based on what is presented in court, not on prior personal disagreements, prejudgment, or hearsay.