Quote of the week

Although judicial proceedings will generally be bound by the requirements of natural justice to a greater degree than will hearings before administrative tribunals, judicial decision-makers, by virtue of their positions, have nonetheless been granted considerable deference by appellate courts inquiring into the apprehension of bias. This is because judges ‘are assumed to be [people] of conscience and intellectual discipline, capable of judging a particular controversy fairly on the basis of its own circumstances’: The presumption of impartiality carries considerable weight, for as Blackstone opined at p. 361 in Commentaries on the Laws of England III . . . ‘[t]he law will not suppose possibility of bias in a judge, who is already sworn to administer impartial justice, and whose authority greatly depends upon that presumption and idea’. Thus, reviewing courts have been hesitant to make a finding of bias or to perceive a reasonable apprehension of bias on the part of a judge, in the absence of convincing evidence to that effect.

L'Heureux-Dube and McLachlin JJ
Livesey v The New South Wales Bar Association [1983] HCA 17; (1983) 151 CLR 288
20 September 2008

Who will be the President?

If the ANC decides not to have an early election, a President must be chosen within 30 days from among the members of the National Assembly. As Jacob Zuma is not a member of the National Assembly and cannot become one before the election because he is not at the top of one of their election lists, the question is who will take over as caretaker President until the next election.

Some newspaper reports have suggested the Speaker Baleka Mbete will take over. But she will first have to resign as Speaker before she could be elected President for the period until the next election by June 2009. Some suggests that Kgalema Motlanthe is not trusted by the Zuma camp but he should be the obvious choice for caretaker President until the 2009 election.

I am surprised the ANC has not said anything about this at the news conference. They have been very vague, merely muttering about “Parliamentary process”. If they want stability they need to tell us as soon as possible what the next move is. Or have they not yet decided on a next move? If they have not, they are even more irresponsible than I thought.

See also my post here that spells out the procedures in the Constitution for when a President resigns.

UPDATE: Two thoughts just came to me. Maybe the Presidency is referring to the requirement that the cabinet must designate an acting President from among its members and will only resign once the cabinet has designated one of its members to act as President? Also, maybe the President wants to resign in a speech to the National Assembly. Now that will be an interesting speech to watch!

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