Senate votes in new associate justice

Expectations for Weber State University’s student supreme court are expanding as the newest justice was confirmed by a majority student senatorial vote on Monday.

“Last year, they didn’t really have a lot to do because (the student senate) didn’t do too much legislation, and so they were just kind of waiting for us to do something,” said Brady Harris, the Davis campus student senator. “I want to see adjustments so they can actively get engaged before they have to react to anything.”

In line with his vision for the court, Harris asked the newest justice, Justin Williamson, how proactive he plans to be during a Q-and-A period prior to the silent confirmation.

“Somebody has to petition me for it,” said Williamson, a geoscience major. “I didn’t see this position as a position I’d have influence in except for determining cases. Currently, the position, as described, is very reactionary.”

Harris said he would like to work with the court to change that. When he served as a student senator at Southern Utah University, Harris said, the SUU court assumed a more proactive role in behalf of students than what he’s observed at WSU.

“Right now it’s purely reactionary,” said Harris, speaking to Williamson during the confirmation. “One of the things we tried last year is kind of giving these guys some more leeway. So you could work with us to change some of those things that are in (the governing documents) . . . and kind of revamp the Supreme Court to give you guys more of something to do.”

Harris said he would like the court to not only watch over the WSU Student Association to make sure its actions are constitutional, but also to be essentially lawyers for students as they work through disciplinary procedures and sit on committees that make decisions on student appeals.

“A student supreme court member deserves a spot on any one of those committees,” Harris said. “They do legal advice nights and that kind of thing, which is great, but I think they could do so much more to protect student interests, and being lawyers is the perfect way to put it.”

Williamson said he’ll try to talk with students to seek out concerns and that he’ll be available to students via e-mail at [email protected].

“I’ll probably make recommendations to the senators that they can pass on to their constituents on how they can get in contact with the Supreme Court if they have any issues with the laws that are put forth or any concerns that they might have,” Williamson said.

Williamson was the second of three court justices to be confirmed this year. Last Monday, the court’s chief justice, Chelsea Winslow, was sworn in, and next Monday, WSUSA President Kyle Braithwaite will present Mesa Williams before the senate as the possible final associate justice. Williamson’s confirmation vote will be held the following week.

“The type of students who belong in student government are those who really want to be active and they really want to do something, and that really stood out to me (about Williamson),” said Braithwaite, who interviews and selects students to be presented to the senate. “Williamson did well in his interviews.”

Williamson will receive $300 a semester for his work, which currently requires him to put in five office hours a week, meet with the chief justice weekly and assist in judicial projects.

“I’m kind of hoping that I get some work from you guys,” Williamson told the senate. “I’d like to see maybe something that is controversial, because I think the pinnacle of being a supreme court justice is being able to determine whether something has constitutionality or not. That would be exciting.”