Constitutional Council Chief Justice Resigns

Owen Mattocks (20C), chief justice of the Constitutional Council, resigned on Jan. 9.

Mattocks said he resigned because Student Government Association (SGA) has repeatedly broken rules and student leaders lack institutional knowledge.

“I saw that the sudden drain of institutional knowledge ended up hurting our student government,” Mattocks said.

Mattocks said he realized SGA was not functioning properly after reading the Wheel’s coverage of SGA in Fall 2018.

“Reading articles that you all have written and actually being at one of the heads of the Student Government Association, I think we can all tell that the lack of institutional knowledge is hurting the Student Government Association’s image and its ability to function,” Mattocks said.

Mattocks said no one pressured him to resign and that he considered resigning for several months.

Mattocks said he also resigned because he believes the College is overrepresented in the Constitutional Council. The Constitutional Council is supposed to represent all of Emory’s divisional councils equally, according to the SGA constitution.

“The president shall to the best of their ability ensure representation from the various divisions of Emory University. … At no point shall the majority of justices be enrolled in the same division,” Mattocks said, quoting the SGA Constitution.

All current justices are enrolled in the College. Mattocks said he believes that this violation prohibits the Council from acting effectively and hopes that his resignation will help alleviate this issue.

“The court can’t be made or entirely composed of justices from the same divisional council, and that’s the way it is right now,” Mattocks said.

Mattocks also said that BBA Council President Jay Krishnaswamy (16Ox, 19B) shared his concerns about all of the justices being currently enrolled in the College.   

“I could just sense an impending challenge to any ruling we passed down,” Mattocks said.

Both Mattocks and Associate Justice Matthew Ribel (19C) believe SGA President Dwight Ma (17Ox, 19C) will promote a current associate justice to chief justice and then appoint a new associate justice to fill the vacancy. Both appointments would need the approval of the SGA legislature.

Mattocks said he hopes to continue to “serve the Emory community” by advising the new chief justice and the rest of the court on future rulings.   

“I would be much better suited to express my opinions and not be constrained by the decorum or the respect that the judiciary demands,” Mattocks said.

Mattocks also commented that his resignation from the chief justice position allows him to devote more attention to the ad hoc committee that reviews SGA’s governing documents.

“I still plan on serving on the SGA Governing Documents Committee that is overall polishing the Constitution, the Code of the Legislature and solving a lot of the post [Graduate Student Government Association] GSGA-SGA split ambiguities,” Mattocks said.