In a situation rife with conflicts, Zachary Stone, chief justice of the Student Government Supreme Court, says he won’t recuse himself on ruling over whether or not cuts to the spending limits in SG elections can be considered for this election cycle, even though he’s publicly advocated for the measure himself.
“I really don’t see it as an issue, because I have never really advocated for it in a voting capacity,” Stone told The Horn. “All I’ve really done is tell the Assembly I think it would be a good idea, and I’d have that belief even if I hadn’t vocalized it. The question of recusal comes into play when someone has an actual, personal interest, and I don’t really stand to gain from this bill’s passage or failure. You know, campaign spending limits don’t affect me at all. I’m not running.”
SG Administrative Director Amber Magee submitted a petition to the court asking that a bill she co-authored calling for 50-percent cuts to the current election spending limits be voted on by the Assembly at Tuesday’s meeting, one day before the Wednesday morning deadline for code changes. Assembly Chair Tanner Long had denied the request, stating that legislation must be submitted at least 84 hours in advance of the meeting it is to be heard at, something Rules and Regulations Chair Jonathan Dror failed to do.
Long told The Horn that Stone advocated for the measure in his capacity as chief justice and he’s asked Stone to recuse himself.
“He wasn’t just there as a student. He was there in his capacity as chief justice, and he was directly advocating on the aspects of this bill,” Long said. “He clearly has a stake in this. He wants to see this bill passed.”
Magee has stated publicly that she is considering a presidential run and is part of an Executive Board headed by Student Body President Xavier Rotnofsky and Vice President Rohit Mandalapu, whose campaign had an unusually low spending limit, relying on humor through social media based around their connection to the Texas Travesty. Rotnofsky, a co-author of the bill, was charged as the defendant in the case, waiving his right to a trial. Dror, who failed to submit the bill because of a technical error, according to Magee’s petition, is a candidate for student body president.
Magee, Rotnofsky and Dror did not respond to requests for comment.
Long said even if the court rules that the legislation must be heard Tuesday, he won’t allow it, stating that the SG court simply has an "advisory role."