In what appears to be a veiled attack on Ghana’s Supreme Court, respected former Law Lecturer, Raymond Atuguba, has submitted that Justices on the nation’s apex court sometimes decide cases based on their partisan political leanings.
In a widely circulated article released over the weekend, Dr. Atuguba cites what he calls the voting pattern of justices who sat on the Supreme Court panel that decided the 2012 Election Petition in favour of President John Mahama as evidence of how Ghanaian Justices have historically allowed their personal politics to decide matters of law in their courts.
Dr. Atuguba, a former Executive Secretary to President Mahama, went on to ask Ghanaians to be “watchful” to prevent Justices sitting on Abu Ramada’s latest case against the Electoral Commission from deciding the matter based on their political persuasions.
A portion of the article reads: “On issues of pure politics, and going by which party appointed them; the way they have historically voted on political issues; and their posture and voting pattern during the Election Petition Case of 2012; and in the case of a non-unanimous decision, the majority of the current panel of the Supreme Court will likely rule in favour of the stance preferred by the New Patriotic Party (NPP) in this case and the minority for the stance of the National Democratic Congress (NDC).”
“It is, however, possible that the Supreme Court will deliver a unanimous decision if the case remains at the first step relief, where the Supreme Court orders the EC to delete undesirable names according to a mechanism and timetable determined and operationalized by the EC. Where the Supreme Court has to move to step two of the two-stepped relief, the decision is likely to be non-unanimous at that point. And at that point, three of the judges on this case will likely vote for the position preferred by the NPP and two for the position preferred by the NDC. The only thing that could prevent this is public watchfulness to ensure that the Supreme Court judges put their personal politics aside and rule for Ghana.”
According to him, “In the so-called advanced democracies, it is common to predict how a judge would rule, given (a) their political persuasion, (b) the President who appointed them, and (c) the way they have ruled in the past. Anyone interested in this subject matter should examine how academics make these predictions in the case of the United States Supreme Court.”
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