Central Student Judiciary
Michigan Student Assembly

Hamdan A. YOUSUF

v.

Matthew TALLEY

case number F-09-03
December 5, 2009

Order

Justice Huston delivered the Opinion of the Full CSJ.

Introduction

Plaintiff Matthew TALLEY (“Respondent”) initiated this action before the Election
Board alleging that the Defendant Hamdan YOUSUF (“Appellant”) violated the MSA Compiled Code’s (“Code’s”) campaign rules by inappropriately sending spam email to over 18,000 students as part of a UM Directory email alias. Plaintiff argues that this alleged violation is unfair to other candidates and requests the maximum punishment as provided for in the Code.
A panel of four Election Board Members conducted a hearing in this matter on December 3, 2009. The panel concluded that Appellant was in violation of Code § 5.G.4.m., disallowing inappropriate and irresponsible use of email and disallowing a candidate from knowingly sending spam email, in the sending of email messages advertising Defendant’s candidacy to the UM Directory group um.graduate.students, which contains almost 19,000 members. The Election Board assessed a penalty of two demerits.
Plaintiff appeals the judgment of the Election Board on the merits to CSJ. Plaintiff has also requested a temporary restraining order (“TRO”) be put in place in order to prevent the Election Board from hearing any future complaints against him, based on the same conduct, and to prevent the Election Director from certifying the election results.
For the reasons stated below, Plaintiff’s petition for a TRO is DISMISSED WITH PREJUDICE.

Decision of CSJ

CSJ has no power to grant the immediate relief that Appellant seeks. Appellant has requested that a TRO issue against the Election Director and Election Board, neither of whom are parties to this action. The section of our manual dealing with TRO’s, CSJ § 51.312, only contemplates that TRO’s will issue against parties to a properly filed action. We find support for this position in the language of 51.312(e), which specifically references the “opposing party.” A TRO represents extraordinary and immediate relief, and may be granted ex parte when necessary. However, issuing a TRO always anticipates that the opposing party will have an opportunity to come before the Court and contest the TRO. In this case, the Election Board and Election Director are not parties, so they will never have a chance to come before the Court and state their case. For all of the following reasons, we now hold that CSJ will not issue a TRO against an individual or entity that is not a party to the present action. For these reasons, Appellant’s petition for a TRO must be DISMISSED WITH PREJUDICE.

Although Appellant requested a TRO, which will be denied, our manual does provide an alternative form of immediate relief that Appellant may pursue, namely, the Stay of Enforcement of the judgment of an inferior judiciary, pending appeal to CSJ (“Stay”). See CSJ § 51.311. Appellant seeks to prevent injuries that may result from enforcement of the decision adverse to him in the Election Board, and a Stay is the appropriate remedy for Appellant to pursue. Due to the immediacy of Appellant’s claim, and in order to prevent him from being required to needlessly re-file his action to seek a Stay instead of a TRO, we choose instead to construe Appellant’s petition as a duly filed petition for Stay of enforcement of the judgment adverse to him in the Election Board.

Pursuant to our manual, § 51.311, a Stay may issue whenever two justices deem it to be appropriate. In this case, no two justices have voted to implement the Stay of the Election Board’s decision pending appeal, and the petition for a Stay will therefore be DENIED.

Although § 51.311 does not establish any criteria to use in considering a petition for a Stay, we deem it appropriate to consider, among other things, the risk of irreparable injury to Appellant if the Stay does not issue, and Appellant’s likelihood of success on the merits. In this case, we do not believe that Appellant has shown that he is likely to be injured if the Stay does not issue. There is no reason to think that the Election Board is prepared to hear another case against Appellant, or to issue him more demerits, or that the Election Director is likely to disqualify Appellant as a candidate. If it was shown that any of those things were likely to imminently occur, then CSJ could, at that point, issue a Stay pending our hearing of Appellant’s appeal on the merits. However, given the facts before the Court, we hold that a Stay of the Election Board’s judgment would not be appropriate at this time.

Finally, although we express no opinion on the merits of the appeal, we note only that the judgments of inferior judiciaries are only reviewable by CSJ for “clear error” or for findings of fact that are contrary to the substantial weight of the evidence, per our Manual § 51.721.

As mentioned, a Stay will issue whenever two justices feel it is appropriate, per CSJ § 51.311. However, in this case, no two justices recommended that the Stay issue, and Appellant’s petition for a Stay is therefore DENIED.










Orders

For these reasons,

IT IS ORDERED that Appellant YOUSUF’s petition for a TRO against the Election Board is DENIED and DISMISSED WITH PREJUDICE.

IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that Appellant YOUSUF’s petition for a TRO against the Election Director is DENIED and DISMISSED WITH PREJUDICE.

IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that, to the extent that it is appropriate to treat Appellant YOUSUF’s petition as one seeking a Stay of the judgment of the Election Board in Talley v. Yousuf (Dec. 3, 2009), Appellant’s petition is DENIED.


Dated this 5th Day of December, 2009.

Justice Michael R. HUSTON, on behalf of the Full CSJ