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Goldman responds: ‘I am not going to disappear’

Published: October 12, 2007
Section: Opinions


By now it has been widely reported that the official Union Judiciary decision condemning me (to and of what, exactly?) uses the phrase “brain fart”. This decision, merely a page long, is full of grammatical and other errors and makes no reference to precedent or evidence. It would certainly convince the admissions committee of any law school to reject these Justices as applicants.

As witnesses at the trial, Treasurer Ha and Vice-President Braver made very clear that there had never been an issue with executive appointments in the past. Indeed, Justice Cindy Kaplan was herself appointed Deputy Director of Social Life by an E-Boarder without such powers expressly granted in the Constitution. Yet this precedent was not consulted or even referenced in the verdict of these judges. In effect, their opinion was “Tabula Rasa” – a clean slate beginning without reference to the practical or judicial precedent of the Student Union. They approached the Union Constitution as one would an archaeological dig, trying to piece together from inanimate clues what it could possibly have meant, and ignoring the testimony of the entire history of the organization.

And so, Rajiv Ramakrishnan's position as Assistant Secretary was dissolved, despite his confirmation by the Senate. At this point, both Raj and I are clear that the entire process is a farce. I will certainly not be bringing him back before the Senate. Frankly, I am not even sure what else the UJ could possibly want. If this madness has not driven away the impressive talents he promised to bring to the table, he may continue to serve as Assistant Secretary or Lord High Commissioner of Union Technologies or whatever else I want to call him. Simply put, neither of us care anymore. We want to do a job for the student body and are sick and tired of these exercises in the absurd.

The crux of the argument of the esteemed Judiciary is that the phrase “fairly and judiciously oversee” is implied by the Constitution's very existence. On its face, this is absurd. The words “fair” and “just” mean something different to every person. Indeed, if these concepts were so obvious no Constitution would ever need to be written, as all men would be angels. In the words of the great Twentieth Century theologian Reinhold Niebuhr, “Man's capacity for justice makes democracy possible, but man's inclination to injustice makes democracy necessary. ”

Be very certain: whenever verdicts are delivered based on general values, justice is not only jeopardized but impossible. Imagine if any individual could be tried if they were accused of being “bad”, and convicted on that basis, whatever “bad” means to the individual judge. It is the inclination of revolutionaries to believe that not only can certain situations be corrected or standards of government improved;

but that the nature of mankind can somehow be made better. Stalinism was also based on an arbitrary interpretation of “Fairness” raised to the level of a standard of government.

Most importantly of all, the UJ had absolutely no grounds to even consider this matter. This was a case brought on “breach of constitutional duty”, language the Constitution ascribes to the Senate, which has not chosen to impeach as Shreeya Sinha demanded but only to censure. Now, the three Justices of the UJ have prejudged the case and a fourth, Mr. Ansorge, has made his opinion clear. Certainly, none of them would choose to sit in trial were I impeached and a removal-from-office case brought before them.

I do not know, as I write, whether this three-ring-circus is over. Not being subject to the U.S. Constitution, our school has no provisions against double (triple?) jeopardy. But if a second round of impeachment proceedings are brought on Sunday – (for those who are counting, this would be trial number 3) – then everyone will know that the attack begins not with Mr. Kerns but with Ms. Sinha. The president's grievances against me are, as is widely known, longstanding and entirely personal in nature. At the trial, Kerns quizzed Mr. Ha with confidential information from an E-Board meeting (which, as per Ms. Sinha's campaign on transparency and accountability, are entirely secret) and continues to publicly coordinate his efforts with other Union officials including our very partial president.

Let me make this very clear: I am not going to disappear. If new hearings are brought before the Senate Senate with this retroactive and ridiculous reinterpretation of the Constitution, I will stand against them, week after week if need be. If this goes to trial by the UJ (again!) then Justices Ansorge, Deutsch, Kaplan, and Handler have made their opinions very clearly known and would surely have to recuse themselves. And if, which I do not for a moment believe, I am removed from office, than I shall be a candidate for reelection to my own seat.

To those who have stuck by me through thick and thin – you are too many to mention, but you know who you are – my eternal gratitude, and G-d bless you.

Editor's note: Michael Goldman '08 is the Secretary of the Student Union. .