A Rebuttal to Former Chief Justice Frances Johnson-Allison


“Point of View” and the Editorial of the Daily Observer – The “necessary and proper” clause of Article 34 l of the Liberian constitution renders the enactment of the Code Of Conduct by the Legislature, and the Supreme Court opinion constitutional

When the standard bearer of the Alternative National Congress (ANC) said Section 5.2 of the Code of Conduct Law “is not applicable” to him because he made known his intention to contest public elected office prior to his presidential appointment on the Board of BWI, we simply laughed.

Also, when such careless talk was followed by the former Governor of the Central Bank Dr. Mills Jones that “nothing shall stop him from running for the presidency” despite Section 5.2 of the Code of Conduct Law barring him from contesting the presidency we wondered as to whether the Doctor may have been speaking out of ignorance or mere frustration.

But when Cllr. Frances  Johnson Allison – a former  Election Commissioner, former Attorney General, and indeed, a former Chief Justice of the Supreme Court   said “Section 5.2 of the Code of Conduct Act is unconstitutional”, hence, she “therefore begs to differ with the holding of the Honorable Supreme Court” thus her “aim is to point out that the powers granted to the legislature to make laws under the Constitution are not “extraordinary” or absolute”, it no more became a laughing matter, but rather an alarming concern to us!

Hence, we decided to fire this swift rebuttal to the Former Chief Justice´s “Point of View on the Code of Conduct Act and the Supreme Court’s Opinion”, which according to her are “unconstitutional.” Madam former Chief Justice, you are fundamentally wrong! And to be blunt, Madam former Justice Minister, your wrongness seems to stem from:

  • either mere dishonesty as the result of your standard bearer Alexander Benedict Cummings been affected by the law under discussion, or:
  • your strange unfamiliarity with the sweeping force or elasticity of  the necessary and proper clause (Article 34 L) of the great Liberian Constitution which provides that “the legislature shall have powers to make all other laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into execution the foregoing powers, and all other powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the Republic, or in any department or officer thereof,” or:
  • your utter lack of knowledge of the fact that “The clause (Article 34 L) is placed among the powers of congress (article 34), not among the limitations on those powers.”

Accordingly, we now call on the Legislature, the Executive, and the Judiciary not to listen to the misguided editorial of the Daily Observer nor the “point of view” of the ANC politician Frances Johnson Allison that “The Legislature, we all know, does not have referendum powers—it cannot change anything in the Constitution before legislating the holding of a constitutional referendum, in which the people decide what is to be changed and what is not to be changed.

This is consistent with Article I of the Constitution which states initially and emphatically, “All power is inherent in the people.” This statement in quotation by the Editorial of the Daily Observer is woeful and misleading, and only good for the dustbin!

For while the Daily Observer may have been acting in good faith, it would not be surprising as we have hinted supra) that the ANC politician Frances Johnson may not be necessarily acting from a matter of ignorance but an unpatriotic motive for:

  • While it is true referendums and the enactments of laws are two separate, distinct, and different phenomena, and the former is charged to the people, while the latter is the duty, responsibility, and mandate, of the legislature, and neither can encroach the other, the “necessary and proper clause” is inscribed in constitutions the world over for in times of exigencies requiring “speedy” legislations the safest route is the usage of the Necessary and Proper Clause.
  • Not to mention the fact, that ours is a representative democracy where the legislature is the people incarnate 24/7, and this is:
  • Inter alia why the Constitution  provides that “all power is inherent in the people” – the legislature, and or the impeachment powers in Article 43 which stipulates that the powers to prepare bills of impeachment and the trying of impeachments is vested solely in the Legislature.

Having articulated the above, we like to request the ANC politician Frances Johnson to immediately rescind her point of view containing nothing but red herrings (articles 2, 5, 77 b, 84, etc.) which has no essential ligaments nor force to stop the invincible letter and spirit of Section 5.2 of the Code of Conduct Law, and the Supreme Court’s Opinion, sanctioned by the elastic and sweeping force of “the necessary and proper clause” (Article 34 L of the Liberian Constitution) which is legally, legitimately, and constitutionally, consistent with the principles of law, the major schools of legal thought(Natural Law, Positivist, Legal Realism, Historical, etc), and indeed the anchor of our national existence – The great Liberian Constitution!!!

Dortu-Siboe Doe, Contributing Writer