Thursday, May 27, 2021

Poisoning the well in Samoa

Samoa's Court of Appeal (which is actually the other half of its Supreme Court) will be hearing the appeal on the women's quota on Monday, with a decision due on Wednesday or Thursday. The decision would end any pretended uncertainty about the constitutionality of parliament or who has a majority, and the caretaker regime has apparently promised to respect it. So its quite surprising to see their Attorney-General attempting to have all the judges disqualified:

The office also applied for the disqualification of the presiding judges, “given their potential conflicts of interest and potential favouritism”, a press release from the attorney-general said.

“All four cases between FAST [party] and the Government all went against the Government and favoured FAST ... there is now substantive evidence before our office that is questioning the appearance of impartiality and integrity of the judiciary presiding over this matter,” the attorney-general said.

Alternatively, perhaps the regime lost all those cases because their arguments were weak and their position tenuous? But obviously, that can't be it...

The HRPP's solution is for the case to be heard by overseas judges, who they will appoint. Which will of course take time to recruit, leaving the regime in power. And since in the regime's opinion parliament cannot possibly be convened until this case has been heard, no-one will be able to vote them out. Its just a further example of their attempts to use process to frustrate both democracy and the courts. But its also a clear setup for them to refuse to accept any decision which does not go their way. Which is the real underlying problem here: a government which refuses to accept the judgement of the courts, or more importantly the judgement of the people.