Below is the text of an ASUCD Court ruling.


CASE # 22 Nathan Thomas et Alii vs. Paloma Pérez

Before: Justices Fricke, Middleton, Johnson, Konz, Shahabi, Zheng


The ASUCD Student Court in Case # 22 was faced with the following questions:

  1. Definition of “co-author”

  2. Applicability to 2003 Senate Bill #41

  3. Culpability of Defendant Pérez

For clarity’s sake we shall address each of these three points in turn.

1. DEFINITION OF “CO-AUTHOR” The ASUCD Standing Rules address authors and co-authors in Rule Four, Section 2.1.3: “Legislation will bear the name of only one author. The author may only list as co-authors individuals who have been directly involved in drafting the legislation.” The root of this case in the opinion of the Court is a difference of opinion of the definition of “co-author” and “directly involved” between the Plaintiffs and Defendant. Therefore the Court found it prudent that the definition of these things be further clarified.

It is the finding of the Court that a co-author must (A) agree with the substance of the legislation, (B) demonstrate an understanding of the substance of the legislation before being added as a co-author, (C) be responsible for coming up with at least one substantive clause of the legislation. A. We believe it is fundamental that a co-author must support the resolution in its specific written form; not just the general idea behind it. B. The potential co-author must see or be read the resolution in its final draft before it is first presented on the Senate floor (or if co-author is added at a later point, its most current form), and agree to it. C. Contribution of information alone does not constitute co-authorship. One can get information from a webpage, book, or other passive object and that object would certainly not be eligible as a co-author. The co-author must contribute ideas specifically intended for the resolution.

2. APPLICABILITY TO 2003 SENATE BILL #41 In the case of 2003 Senate Bill #41, we find that the disputed co-author, Mrs. Whalen, does not fit the definition of having been directly involved with the legislation. A. In “highlighted section three” of the letter Whalen addressed to the Plaintiffs, Defendant and Court, Whalen states that she does not agree with the substance of the legislation. B. Whalen did not see the legislation or know of its specific content at all until after it had passed entirely through the legislative process. C. It appears that Whalen provided the information and resources relevant to her program, but not ideas specifically intended for the resolution. The information she provided is more similar to something one could look up in a website or book than something one expects an author to contribute.

3. CULPABILITY OF DEFENDANT PÉREZ Senator Pérez is charged in this case with violating the co-authorship policy (provided above), and the her Oath of Office

(“I Paloma Pérez, Student of the University of California, Davis, in good academic standing, promise to abide by the ASUCD Guidelines for Ethical Conduct; and promote the welfare and interests of the members of ASUCD; and in consistency with the ASUCD Constitution, enact rules and procedures necessary and proper for the efficient operation of ASUCD; and carry out and faithfully execute the duties enumerated in the ASUCD Constitution, ASUCD Standing Rules, and ASUCD Government Codes at all times during my term as a Voting Member of the ASUCD Senate, so help me God.”)

We find that as the existing co-authorship policy is extremely vague, and her interpretation is not culpably in violation. She followed her interpretation of the existing definition of co-authorship in good faith, and therefore did not violate her Oath of Office.

CONCLUSION Historically it has not been the habit of Supreme Courts on a state or national level to reverse votes already made even if it is proven that there was something erroneous about the process that may have affected the outcome. Following this precedent, and considering that the legislation has already completed the legislative process and the monies have already been allocated, we shall not interfere with the bill’s execution. We expect, however, that in future considerations of co-authorship the Senate and other authors of legislation shall abide by the precedent we are setting for the qualifications of co-authors. Unless it is changed through legislation, the definition shall continue to be interpreted by the Court as we have here established.

Wherefore, the Student Court has taken all of the facts into consideration, it is hereby

RECOMMENDED, that the Senate consider elaborating upon the current co-authorship policy in the Standing Rules. They are free to accept our definition in whole or in part, or to make a different one entirely; and it is further

ORDERED, Whalen’s name be stricken from 2003 Senate Bill # 41.