Court upholds Gardner and Guevara disqualification

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The Student Government Judicial Court upheld the disqualification of former SG presidential candidates Madison Gardner and Antonio Guevara and denied their appeal of the Election Supervisory Board’s disqualification today.

 

Gardner and Guevara petitioned the court for a rehearing of the complaints that disqualified them last week, claiming the Board had committed procedural error and subsequently violated their Fifth and Sixth Amendment rights under the U.S. Constitution. The court stated they agreed with the Board’s judgment to disqualify the candidates because they failed to file accurate financial disclosure statements.

 

At the hearing, Alden Harris, Judicial Court chief justice, said while the court should look to the U.S. Constitution for guidance, the document applies specifically to Congress and state actors.

 

Gardner stated the decision disqualifying him and Guevara violated procedure for several reasons. Regarding their disregard of an earlier fine issued by the Board, he stated the Board failed to give him and Guevara 24-hour notice of a complaint filed against them and build a council for their defense. He also said the complaint was filed by Board chair Eric Nimmer, who is prohibited from making complaints under the Election Code.

 

The court affirmed Nimmer did not file a complaint against Gardner and Guevara, although he did address concerns not filed in the original complaint filed by SG law school representative Austin Carlson.

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Gardner also stated Sunday this was a violation of his Sixth Amendment right under the U.S. Constitution, which grants him the right to be informed of any complaint against him to build a council for his defense.

 

Aakash Kumar represented Gardner at the hearing and said the court should judge their decision by a document that governs the United States, not by the judgment of the Election Supervisory Board.

 

"The ESB is not a court of law," the court said in a statement issued today. "And though certain procedural safeguards do exist to protect the candidates from prejudice or insufficient process, the code is designed to permit the ESB enough procedural leeway to hear and decide complaints in a timely and efficient manner."

 

John Lawler and Thor Lund are the only presidential candidates that remain. Elections will be held March 28 and 29.