At a Student Government Supreme Court hearing Wednesday night, the court reaffirmed their ability to oversee unconstitutional Student Senate rules.
Senator Michael Hoffman (Inspire, Hume) petitioned the UF Supreme Court on Oct. 30, arguing that Senate rules and procedures are not considered student body law, and therefore can’t be regulated by the judicial branch.
Hoffman’s petition aimed to ensure the separation of powers between SG’s legislative and judicial branches and clarify that the court can’t interpret the rules that govern the Senate’s internal procedures.
“I wouldn’t want the Supreme Court to interpret the Senate’s rules for it, just like the Senate can’t interpret the Supreme Court’s internal rules,” Hoffman said.
In his speech, Hoffman said the Supreme Court would be violating the separation of powers doctrine if they had the power to interpret rules that affect the internal operations of the Senate.
The UF Supreme Court unanimously ruled 5-0 that they can interpret the Senate rules and procedures.
Hoffman said the court didn’t rule against his position, but rather said they couldn’t interpret Senate’s rules and procedures unless they found something to be unconstitutional.
“I’m optimistic that the opinion will balance the need for the Supreme Court to prevent unconstitutional actions while allowing the legislature to operate independently,” Hoffman said.
Chief Justice Meagan McCarthy said Hoffman was asking the court to explain if they had the power to rule on the Senate rules and procedures.
“As the legislative branch, the Supreme Court needs to have the ability to check power,” McCarthy said. “We are not saying the Senate can’t make its own rules and procedures, but we’re saying that in the case there is something unconstitutional or in the case that a student wants to bring a petition, that the Supreme Court has the jurisdiction to hear that.”