I’m Not For Supreme Court Capping- Godfred Dame
The Attorney General and Minister for Justice-designate, Godfred Yeboah Dame, has made a strong case for a cap not be placed on the number of justices that can be appointed to the Supreme Court.
According to him, any mischief anticipated as a result of the open-ended nature of the number of justices that can be appointed by the President can be cured by the appointment processes as contained under Article 144 of the Constitution.
At his vetting by the Appointments Committee of Parliament last Friday which lasted for about six and half hours, Mr. Dame stated that he was not for the ‘capping’ of the Supreme Court, having regard to the multiplicity of jurisdiction of the apex court, and added that the present arrangement of the constitution was sound and proper.
“The Supreme Court is a constitutional court, an appellate court, review court, and election petition court and also the court set by Article 185 for giving approval for release of official documents,” he said, adding, “If indeed there is a right for appeal and other issues are there then certainly there is the need for many Supreme Court justices to be appointed. Unlike other jurisdictions where the Supreme Court is just a constitutional court, in our case it has a combined jurisdiction.”
He asserted that the worry by many that a President, seeking to maintain his grip on the judiciary, and could appoint as many justices as possible could be addressed through the appointment processes of the Supreme Court justices.
“The appointment processes are set out in the constitution and my view is that if indeed all parties relevant in the process were to perform their task seriously and faithfully, it will be a useful check on any President wanting to abuse his or her powers.
“Article 128 does not place a cap on the number of Supreme Court justices; it only sets a minimum and that minimum is nine. There is no upper limit.
“That is why I am saying that I consider the appointment process to be very material. In order to curb a President’s abuse by appointing many Supreme Court judges as possible by way of a subtle manipulation of the court, the various parties must be involved in the appointment procedure,” he elucidated.
For him, the ultimate work rests with Parliament, noting that “even without amending the constitution to place an upper limit on the number of Supreme Court justices, there is an internal check set by the constitution for such a restriction to be achieved.”