Third-year FAMU Law students are First from College of Law to Serve as FAMU Student Supreme Court Justices
The roles of Florida A&M University (FAMU) College of Law students were expanded this academic year, as two third-year students became the first to be appointed to the FAMU Student Supreme Court. Mia Williams, a West Palm Beach native with two degrees from the University of Central Florida; and Allan Small, who hails from Atlanta, GA (via Mannheim, Germany), with a BA degree from FAMU, made College of Law history with the appointments.
In recent years, the College of Law has seen many of its law students garner positions in the Student Senate, to inform and promote the successes and needs of the law school community in Orlando. The FAMU main campus, where the Student Government Association (SGA) holds its meetings, is located several hours north in Tallahassee. According to Williams, serving on the Court allows her to bridge a gap between the main campus and the law school.
“It’s easy to feel we are on an island since we are in Orlando,” explained Williams. “But I have to make connections with people that are on the main campus to do my part.”
As a FAMU graduate, Small holds a similar outlook in his contribution to his alma mater.
“I wanted to be able to give back to my University in a way that would shape the future for students,” explained Small. “By being a student in law school, I can offer a practical thought process when listening to and deciding cases, based on the information and skills I am acquiring in my law school classes.”
According to the FAMU Student Body Constitution, the Student Supreme Court is composed of seven justices appointed by the SGA president and approved by a two-thirds vote of the Student Senate. The Judicial power of SGA is vested in the Court, the Student Traffic Court and other inferior courts as the Student Senate may ordain and establish as needed.
“The Student Supreme Court hears matters pertaining to a variety of acts,” said Williams, who also serves as the Editor-In-Chief of the FAMU Law Review. “If a case is brought before the Court, it is our responsibility to hear it and give a fair ruling based on the student body documents, and any other law that needs to be applied.” In addition, the Chief Justice can also assign any of the Justices to write opinions based on the rulings.
Among seven main purviews, the Student Supreme Court has jurisdiction over cases and controversies involving questions of Constitutionality of actions of students, student governing groups, and student organizations, with reference to this Constitution. The Court also has jurisdiction over conflicts between students, student groups, or organizations.
“I think it brings a holistic view for what I have been learning [in law school],” Small said. “I am no longer just learning theory in a vacuum, but applying it to real facts, in real time to the best of the knowledge of the Justices of the Court.”
“I would definitely encourage other law students to pursue [an appointment],” Williams said. “I know this not only gives law students an opportunity to put what we are learning daily into practice, but also allows the Justices to be more versed in how FAMU is governed.”