Associated Students of ASU Supreme Court rules against former USGT VP of Policy

The court upheld the impeachment of John Gimenez after hearing his lawsuit earlier this week

The Associated Students of ASU Supreme Court upheld a previous decision on Thursday by the Undergraduate Student Government Tempe to impeach John Gimenez from his role of vice president of policy. 

The decision comes three days after the hearing on Monday, in which Senate President Joshua Blinkoff and Senate President Pro Tempore Nicole Morote represented USGT against Gimenez. 

Gimenez was first removed from office in November 2018, when USGT charged him with nonfeasance and misconduct in the role. The articles of impeachment compiled by the senate said that Gimenez "attempted to create conflict within the senate" and that he had been "verbally abusive" to members of the executive team. 

Shortly after his impeachment, Gimenez filed the lawsuit within the ASASU Supreme Court, alleging a lack of due process and impartiality in his removal proceedings. 

In the final ruling, the court addressed Gimenez's claim that the senate failed to meet its three-fourths majority impeachment vote requirement because not all of the senators attended the session in which his removal was voted on. 

The court conceded that there was previously "no clear definition of 'current voting membership,'" but said that current voting membership will hereafter refer to eligible voting members in attendance during the vote.

The court also recognized "the inefficiency and confusion surrounding the impeachment process" and established new guidelines for impeachment proceedings, including requirements that "executive sessions" must be clearly defined in USG bylaws on all four campuses and that evidence for cases be submitted at least 48 hours before trials.

In a statement issued after the ruling, Gimenez criticized the use of executive sessions, saying that the court has allowed the senate to "trample on transparency" by allowing their use.

"In the US Congress and AZ Legislature, two institutions that inspired our documents, impeachment proceedings are televised, recorded, and available to the public," he wrote. "Why is the student government removal process any different?"

Gimenez added that while he appreciates the reforms the court ordered the governments to take, he believes that "if those standards are so crucial to the court, there should be a new trial under those conditions."

Gimenez said that he cannot comment on specifics regarding the impeachment hearings, but that he has begun working with legal counsel to explore other options moving forward.

"I intend to persist and carry on," Gimenez wrote in the statement.

Morote said that she is grateful to the judges for their work, no matter how things turn out. 

"I have great respect for the judicial process," Morote said in an email. "Regardless of outcome, I'm thankful that the justices took the time to hear the case and read arguments."

This is a developing story. More information will be added as it is made available.



Reach the reporter at krquaran@asu.edu and follow @kiaraquaranta on Twitter. 

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