The search for a replacement for Associate Justice Philip A. Z. Banks, who retires from the Supreme Court bench in June, is currently ongoing with the Executive said to be going all out to find a suitable candidate.
President George Manneh Weah is reportedly looking deep within his ruling Coalition for Democratic Change to find a caliber or cream of lawyer that can meet, if not surpass, the pedigree of the man who publicly boasted here recently that his private library is more up to date than the Supreme Court’s.
Finding a pick to step in the shoes of the 1976 graduate of Yale Law School, United States of America, might probably require more than it seems on the surface. And perhaps no one better understands that than the President himself.
Statutory age tenure on the high court bench is 70, and Justice Banks turns three scores-ten next month, which is also lifespan of man, as inscribes in the Holy Bible.
The New Dawn has been periscoping the legal landscape of Liberia, which lost two of its brightest minds in less than a month with the latest being the former Dean of the Louis Arthur Grimes School of Law, University of Liberia, Cllr. David A.B. Jallah, to suggest who probably could be the President’s pick.
Cllr. Jallah reportedly succumbed to the long hand of death over the weekend, suddenly at the Redemption Hospital in New Kru Town, outskirt of Monrovia.This paper’s lenses have been directed at two experienced lawyers, who according to sources, President Weah is eying within the Coalition to appoint a successor for Cllr. Banks.
The names of Sinoe County Senator Cllr. Joseph Nagbe, and Deputy Agriculture Minister Cllr. Sayma Syrenius Cephus, both staunch members of the ruling CDC, have emerged with either of the two speculatively poised to be announced by the President to sit on the Supreme Court bench.
Cllr. Cephus, an Agronomist and former media practitioner, served as legal counsel for President Weah’s Congress for Democratic Change party (now Coalition for Democratic Change) for several years prior to its victory in 2017.
He joined the Coalition government about three months after he was nominated by President Weah and subsequently confirmed by Senate, as Deputy Minister for Agriculture.
Similarly, Senator Joseph Nagbe has been a close ally of the CDC. On 10 May Senator Milton Teahjay, perhaps unknowingly gave a hint about who is being tipped to replace Justice Banks when he revealed that he would soon be the only Senator for his native Sinoe County, while making a motion on the senate floor during session last week Thursday after he was recognized by Vice President Jewel Howard Taylor, who presided.
“I will soon be the only Sinoe County Senator; after all, people will not be here forever, as my colleague prepares to transition to the other side,” Teahjay hinted.
Recently, at the headquarters of the CDC where Cllr. Augustine Chea had gone to declare his membership, Sinoe County Superintendent Lee Nagbe Chea noted that the coming of Cllr. Chea should not been construed as to tussle for job, but to contest on the ruling Coalition’s ticket in an eventual senatorial by-election for Sinoe, which seems to suggest if Cllr. Nagbe were to be nominated to the high court bench by President Weah, by-election would be automatically imminent in the county to fill the vacant seat that could be created in June.
Also speaking at that program, CDC National Chairman Mulbah Morlu said the decision by Cllr. Chea to make a comeback to the party is in the right direction, and would beef up the numerical strength of the already ruling establishment.
Other names for the prestigious judicial post could emerge, even as the countdown for Cllr. Banks to step down draws closer, but the ultimate choice certainly lies with the President.
By E. J. Nathaniel Daygbor-Editing by Jonathan Browne