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SBA CONSTITUTION
 

Constitutions serve as the framework of government. Acting in good faith and seeking to promote the common good of the student body, we, the students of the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, Student Bar Association, proclaim this Constitution as the supreme law of our Association. This constitution represents the start of our efforts towards responsible self-government by the students, of the students, and for the students.

ARTICLE I
1. This Constitution will be effective immediately upon ratification by the students of the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law as per Article VI of this constitution.
 

ARTICLE II
1. Membership in the Student Bar Association (hereinafter "SBA") shall be extended to any enrolled student at the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law.

2. All members of the SBA shall be entitled to attend all general meetings of all SBA funded organizations and shall be entitled to vote in all Senate elections and referenda.

3. The senate shall not act as a partisan organization and shall not discriminate on the grounds of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, age, disability or sexual orientation, nor shall any organization so chartered by the SBA. The Senate shall not determine the content of any policies or programs of SBA chartered organizations, provided they are in compliance with the aforementioned policy.

4. All powers not enumerated in this document shall not extend to the Senate unless by constitutional amendment, or decree of the university or the Law School Administration.
 

ARTICLE III
A. THE SENATE

1. The President of the SBA shall preside over the Senate. The Vice President shall preside in the President's absence.

2. The Senate shall follow Robert's Rules of Order as adopted by the American Bar Association Law Student's Division at it's most recent annual meeting, in areas of procedure where the Senate has not legislated.

3. The Senate shall have the power to pass a budget and appropriate funds for itself and the SBA. However, no appropriation shall be for more than one fiscal year.

4.    a) All action by the Senate shall occur at a general meeting or duly convened special meeting.

b) A special meeting may be called by the President by a petition of six (6) Senators handed to the President for cause, within forty eight (48) hours of the call. Senators shall be notified by telephone and by posting.

5. All appointments made by Executive officers must be confirmed by a simple majority of the Senators present at a general meeting.

6. The Senate may pass ordinary legislation in the form of resolutions.

7. The Senate may pass all rules and establish all commissions necessary and proper for the execution of this Constitution.

8. Each senator shall have these minimal requirements including but not limited to attendance at Senate meetings, maintenance of at least one (1) regularly scheduled office hour per week, sitting as a member on one (1) SBA committee or commission, promoting SBA activities, disseminating information relating to SBA functions and concerns and upholding the SBA Constitution.
 

B. ELECTIONS

1. There shall be six senators from the First year class, one from each section and one senator to be elected at large. There shall be six senators from the second and third year classes. There will also be one senator from the May AEP class and one senator from the Jan. AEP class.

a) Each First year section shall elect one (1) representative with the remainder, if any, elected at large.

2.    a) The inauguration of Second and Third Year Senators shall take place at the end of the Senate meeting following their election. They will serve until the inauguration of their successors.

b) First year senators shall serve from the time of his/her election until the inauguration of the new Senate as described above in paragraph 2(a).

c) The May AEP Senator shall serve from the time of his/her election until the inauguration of the new Senate as described above in paragraph 2(a). The January AEP senator will serve from the time of his /her election through till the inauguration of the new senate as described above in paragraph 2(a). A new senator will be elected from the new January class in the middle of the year.

3.    a) Each AEP class shall elect its Senator within its first three weeks of classes.

b) Election for First year Senators shall take place within thirty (30) class days of the beginning of the fall term.

c) Elections for Second and Third year Senators shall take place within the first three (3) weeks of April.

4.    a) A vacancy shall be filled by one eligible to run for that seat initially, by a special general election among those originally eligible to vote for the seat. In the event that no candidate comes forward to run for the vacant seat, any student will be eligible to run for the seat which will be designated an at large seat and will be voted on by the Senate in Executive Session by a secret paper ballot.

b) If the vacancy is in a first year section and no one from that section wishes to run, the election shall be opened up to the first year class and then to the entire school.

5.    a) The Election committee is to be comprised of all of the 3L Senators. The election committee must open the committee up to other students in the school and attempt to get non-senate participation.

b) All rules and regulations proposed by the Election Committee are subject to Senatorial approval.

6. 3L Students are eligible to vote for Presidential positions only.

C. EXPULSION

1.    a) Mandatory expulsion of a Senator from the Senate will occur if a Senator has been absent more than four (4) times in an academic year from regularly scheduled senate meetings. Meetings held during the summer do not count in the total number of allowable missed meetings.

b) The President has discretion to excuse one (1) absence during the course of the year for legitimate reasons.

c) For the purpose of this section, two (2) absences from scheduled office hours shall be considered equal to one (1) absence from a regularly scheduled meeting.

d) An absence from a scheduled office hour which is subsequently and timely made up will not be considered to be an absence for the purposes of this section.

e) After the second absence, the Senator will receive notice of his/her multiple absences and after the third absence, the Senator will be notified that his/her absences may result in expulsion.

2. Expulsion requires a two-thirds (2/3) vote of the Senate as a whole. The senate shall have the power to impeach senators and remove them from office for cause.

3. A senator can appeal an expulsion to the Judicial Tribunal.

D. BUDGET COMMITTEE

1. The Budget Committee shall act on the annual budget submitted by club presidents before the Senate may begin consideration. The Budget Committee may be limited in the time it has to consider the annual budget so long as the period for consideration is not less than fifteen calendar days.

2. The Budget Committee shall consist of the Treasurer, who shall chair, and who shall vote in case of a tie and two senators. If no senators volunteer, then the President and Vice President will fill in the positions. The committee must attempt to get non-senate student participation by opening the committee up to all students in the school.

3. The Committee must meet at the following times: Last Week in September; First week back to school in January, and at the end of February.

E. LEGISLATIVE COMMISSION

1. Upon the passage of this Constitution the Constitutional Committee will hereby become the Legislative Commission.

2. The Legislative Commission shall have the power to consider, amend, approve or reject proposals on the rules of procedure for the Senate, its commissions and committees and the Judicial tribunal.

3. The Commission may also propose resolutions to the Senate.

4. A bill not reported to the floor of the Senate within thirty (30) days of introduction to the commission may be reported to the Senate for consideration through a petition to the President signed by the bill's sponsor and one third (1/3) of the Senate as a whole. Once the President received the petition and all the signatures are verified, the President shall place the bill on the agenda for the-next general meeting.
 

ARTICLE IV
EXECUTIVE BRANCH

1. There shall be an Executive Board of the SBA consisting of the President, Vice President, Secretary and Treasurer.

2.    a) The President shall be chosen by secret ballot in an election open to the entire student body. The Presidential election shall be held one calendar week prior to the April Senatorial elections.

b) All Presidential candidates must have served their full term in the Senate and be in good standing.

3.    a) The President shall:

Preside over all Senate meetings,
Submit an agenda to all Senators at least twenty four hours before general meetings.
have the ability to break all ties,
be able to sign checks,
carry out social and community service programs, serve as the liaison of the SBA to the Administration

The President may:

Veto any resolutions and acts of the Senate, except for specific operating rules of the Senate and emergency appropriations, once, for up to fifteen calendar days.
sit ex officio on all Senate committees

b) When the President vetoes a resolution, the rejected resolution can be introduced or discussed by the Senate at the next scheduled senatorial meeting.

c) At the next senatorial meeting, the act, if passed by an absolute majority of the Senate, shall become law over the President's veto.

4. The Vice President shall be elected by a majority of the newly elected Senators present in Executive Session. The voting shall be conducted by secret paper ballot.

5. The Vice President shall:

chair all senate meetings in the President's absence,
be able to co-sign all checks,
serve as chairperson of the Legislative Commission,
fulfill all his/her other senatorial duties

    The Vice President may:

sit ex officio on all Senate committees

6. In the event of permanent incapacitation, impeachment or resignation of the President, the Vice President shall assume the Presidency. If the Vice President must assume the position before October First, there is to be a school wide election to elect the new president. If it is after October 1, the Vice President shall assume the President's position and there shall be a new election for the Vice President in an Executive Session of the Senate.

7. The Treasurer shall be elected by a majority of the newly elected senators present in Executive Session. The voting shall be conducted by secret paper ballot.

8. The Treasurer must:

chair the Budget Commission,
record all receipts and disbursements,
sign all checks
report to the Senate once per month on the financial status of all SBA accounts,
prepare and propose the Senate's budget to the Senate within the first thirty (30) days of school,
set up one additional office hour per week to be designated as the "Treasurer's Office Hour",
fulfill all his/her other Senatorial duties.

9. The Secretary shall be elected by a majority of the newly elected Senators present in Executive Session. The voting shall be conducted by secret paper ballot.

10. The Secretary shall:

keep minutes of all Senate meetings
record attendance of senators at meetings and office hours
inform the executive board when a member has failed to carry out his/her duties
be responsible for the publication through which the SBA has decided to disseminate information to the student body
manage and maintain the appearance of the SBA office
fulfill all his/her other Senatorial duties
 

ARTICLE V
THE JUDICIARY

1. The Judiciary of the SBA shall consist of a five (5) member (Justices) Judicial Tribunal, nominated by the Executive Board and confirmed by the Senate in April or when a vacancy arises and shall serve until graduation unless removed by the removal procedure.

2.     a) One student with prior Cardozo Judicial Tribunal experience shall be designated Chief Justice by the President with the confirmation of the Senate. If no such student exists the President with the confirmation of the Senate shall appoint another candidate.

b) The first Chief Justice shall be a qualified Third year student designated by the President with the confirmation of the Senate.

c) The Judicial Tribunal must consist of at least two (2) Second year students and two (2) Third year students.

3. The Judicial Tribunal interprets the SBA Constitution, and hold trials of impeachment with a four fifths (4/5) majority needed for conviction. The Tribunal, on an appellate basis, may resolve controversies between parties over questions regarding the SBA Constitution and its resolutions.

4. The Judiciary shall propose its own rules of procedure for approval by the Senate. The Senate shall have three (3) calendar weeks during the school year from presentation of such procedures to consider and reject such proposals. If the Senate has not acted within this time the procedures will be considered adopted.

5. A justice can be removed for cause with a three fourths (3/4) vote of the Senate as a whole voting in affirmation to remove.

6. No student may serve simultaneously on the Senate and the Judicial Tribunal. This includes the President and non-Senate members of Senate committees and commissions.
 

ARTICLE VI
REFERENDA. AMENDMENTS AND RATIFICATION

1. Any amendment to or ratification of this Constitution may be submitted to the student body by secret ballot referendum upon either presentation of a petition bearing the signatures of at least fifteen percent (15%) of the student body or by a two-thirds (2/3) absolute majority vote in the Senate. Any referenda, amendment or ratification shall require thirty percent (30%) of the student body to cast ballots and a two-thirds (2/3) majority of those voting to pass.

2. A Constitutional Convention shall be called by a two-thirds (2/3) vote of the entire Senate or twenty five percent (25%) of the students signing the petition. Delegates shall be ten (10) students elected at a special election. The Vice-President shall chair and only vote in case of a tie. The Senate shall devise rules for conducting such a special election. Following the convention the proposed changes shall follow the proscribed procedure for ratification.

3. If parts of this constitution are held invalid the remaining document shall continue to serve as the constitution of the SBA.


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