The Supreme Court of Liberia has denied a petition filed by four Senators questioning the amendment of Rule 63 that was agreed upon by 22 other Senators in the impeachment proceeding of Associate Justice Kabineh Ja’neh.
Accordingly, the four senators also filed a motion for joinder before the High Court, following arguments in the petition to amend Rule 63.
But Justice Joseph Nagbe said the motion could not be granted, indicating that the motion filed is totally defective, because under Liberian law joinder is not permissible at the Supreme Court.
Delivering the final opinion, Justice Nagbe said having reviewed the records, listened to the arguments and contentions raised by the parties, and considering the relevant laws applicable to the facts and issues raised, the court cannot exercise jurisdiction over the individual senators who, under Article 42 of the Constitution of Liberia, cannot be held for acts done or performed in the chambers of the legislature.
Justice Nagbe pointed out that the court cannot exercise jurisdiction over the individual senators for the reason that it is not one of the cases specifically named under Article 66 of the Constitution over which the Supreme Court can exercise original jurisdiction.
“Therefore the movant/petitioners selected the wrong path of filing a motion for joinder before this court,” Justice Nagbe said, noting that under Liberian law, joinder of a party is not permissible at the level of the Supreme Court.
He added that under the law also a person cannot be both a plaintiff and defendant or a petitioner and respondent in the same case, thus acting in a dual capacity, noting that the motion filed by the movant/petitioners to join the Liberian Senate seeks to put the senate in a dual capacity as a petitioner and a respondent in the case, which act is untenable in law.
It was in November 2018 when Senators Conmany Wesseh, Daniel Naathen, Milton Teahjay and Oscar Cooper through Cllr. Tiawan Gongloe questioned the amendment of Rule 63 of the House of Senate which, they said, was in violation of Article 43 of the Constitution of Liberia.