The Navajo Nation Supreme Court hearing on the Writ of Mandamus has started. Chief Justice Herb Yazzie and Associate Justices Eleanor Shirley and Irene Black introduced themselves in the Navajo language.
Chief Justice asked petitioners to introduce themselves: David Jordan for Dale Tsosie. Justin Jones for Hank Whitethorne. Chief Legislative Counsel Levon Henry for Navajo Election Board and Election Office. Henry notes that the Election Board and Election Office director are present, as well as Council Delegate Leonard Tsosie.
CHIEF JUSTICE HERB YAZZIE
Mr. Tsosie, I understand that there is a Council session going on? Chief Justice smiles as gentle laughter floats around the room. Tsosie also smiles.
we will now here arguments on jurisdiction and recess for five minutes. and if have jurisdiction then proceed on merits of case.
we also have real party in interest. we will allow 15 minutes on jurisdiction for each party and tell us if rebuttal. then to Brian Lewis, Chris Deschene’s attorney, for his argument. we also have two motions asking to file as an amicus. we are going to hold off on that until hear arguments on jurisdiction.
DAVID JORDAN, attorney for plaintiff Dale Tsosie
we find ourselves in the middle of a crisis. we are asking court for finality and court to identify legal candidates. since went before supreme court, there has been contempt and defiance against supreme court and office of hearings and appeals. we have brought writ for court to address outright defiance by government entities.
basis of jurisdiction argument, necessary and proper clause, Cedar Unified case said it can assert jurisdiction over non-court where have appelate jurisdiction and issue writ to protect its jurisdition, such as one we have brought to supreme court.
this court remanded to OHA the question of violation of election code by Deschene, who refused to defy test that was agreed to by OHA, Deschene. I asked for default judgement but OHA allowed Deschene to agree to have a deposition at my law office, where he continued to refuse to answer questions. And so OHA had no choice but to disqualify Deschene.
That decision went to Election Board who refused to comply with decision. Election Board asserted that its independent which is untrue. The election is a shambles because a disqualified candidate is on the ballot.
so we are asking court to protect its jurisdiction which court asserted when court defined navajo language fluency. the writ was our only resort to prevent sham election.
the filing of a ten day appeal ends at 5 p.m. today and Deschene continues to campaign. a true naatanni would respect the law. and Deschene has not sought stay of OHA order. if he wants to stay effectiveness of order, he goes to OHA and if OHA denies then he goes to Supreme Court. there is third place presidential candidate out there whose rights are being violated.
you asserted jurisdiction.
CHIEF JUSTICE HERB YAZZIE
there is not only request for mandamus but injunction against deschene for asserting he is a candidate.
the leaders of the judicial branch has been given the authority to ensure that obedience made and that reaches out to private citizen. and deschene not any private citizen, he is party of order. so we are asking that compliance with orders be made and render discipline and penalty. “I am not going to answer questions…I’m not going to be tested.” Deschene is member of Navajo Bar of Association and we took oath to obey rules of law. Deschene has high standard he set for himself when he decided to become a presidential candidate. we are asking court for injunction against deschene.