Associated Students of ASU Supreme Court hears lawsuit from a former USGT Vice President

John Gimenez said he was "never convicted in the first place" before being removed from office in November

The Associated Students of ASU Supreme Court on Monday heard arguments from former Undergraduate Student Government Tempe vice president John Gimenez, who is suing the USGT Senate over what he viewed as his unjust impeachment.

In November 2018 Gimenez asked the ASASU Supreme Court for a retrial after the Senate voted 11-3 to remove him from office over accusations of “behind the scenes deals” and verbal abuse, among other charges.


USGT, represented by Senate President Joshua Blinkoff and Senate Pro-Tempore Nicole Morote, and Gimenez were both given 15 minutes to provide oral statements to the court and 10 minutes to rebut one another's statements. 

Gimenez, who spoke first, said that he hoped the outcome of the retrial would “allow the opportunity for equitable justice.” 

He argued that his impeachment was unfair because the meeting in which the Senate voted for his removal was unconstitutional and the Senate failed to meet its three-fourths rule for voting, among other reasons.

Gimenez said the meeting was unconstitutional because it was a special session held behind closed doors. Special sessions are to be held publicly, according to USGT bylaws.

In the lawsuit, Gimenez cited a previous case heard by the ASASU Supreme Court. The court ruled in Boyd v. USGD Senate that "closed caucus meetings, or closed meetings of any kind by the legislative body with the intention of discussing business, are unconstitutional."

Gimenez argued that the Senate violated its bylaws when it voted to impeach him because the 11 who voted in the ruling was less than three-fourths of the voting membership required, which he said at the time was 18. 

The USGT Senate bylaws define its voting membership as "a proportional number of Senators from each Degree-awarding College housed primarily at the Tempe Campus."

In his opening statement, Blinkoff defended the session's private nature by saying it was an "executive session."

Blinkoff and Morote also refuted Gimenez’s claim that the impeachment was unconstitutional based on the three-fourths voting rule.

Morote argued that the current voting membership is established by who was roll-called into the meeting and that those who were not present did not have current voting rights, making the 11 senators who voted for impeachment sufficient for the three-fourths rule. Fourteen senators were roll-called into the impeachment hearing. 

Gimenez also accused Blinkoff of bias, citing a State Press article in which Blinkoff said that the “conflict and a lot of drama” of the semester brought his “team together in a divisive atmosphere.” 

Blinkoff responded that his statements for that article were not about Gimenez’s case and that Gimenez “loves to copy and paste things when it’s convenient for him.” 

After the trial, Gimenez acknowledged that the hearing was "emotional and heated," but noted that "the questions that the justices asked were very impartial and they were trying to get to the truth."

Once both sides were given time for statements and rebuttals, the panel of four court justices deliberated. The court has three days to issue a final decision on the trial. 

"I'm looking forward to what the supreme court has to say," Gimenez said. 

Morote said afterward that she felt "the trial was being conducted as fairly as possible."

"I hope that it is handled as fairly as it can be. I have great respect for USG."


Reach the reporter at bpietsch@asu.edu and follow @bryan_pietsch on Twitter. 

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