2014 (Political Law) Bar Exam Questions: Question 12

[Answer/discuss the question below. Or see 2014 bar exam Political Law Instructions; 2014 Political Law Questions: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30; See also 2014 Bar Exam: Information, Discussions, Tips, Questions and Results]

XII.

The Court had adopted the practice of announcing its decision in important, controversial or interesting cases the moment the votes had been taken among the justices, even as the final printed decision and separate opinions are not yet available to the public. In a greatly anticipated decision in a case of wide-ranging ramifications, the voting was close – 8 for the majority, while 7 were for the other side. After the Court had thus voted, it issued a press release announcing the result, with the advice that the printed copy of the decision, together with the separate opinions, were to be issued subsequently. The following day, however, one of the members of the Court died. The Court then announced that it would deliberate anew on the case since apparently the one who died belonged to the majority. Citizens for Transparency, a group of civic-spirited professionals and ordinary citizens dedicated to transparency and accountability in the government, questioned the act of the Court. The petitioners claimed the decision had already been validly adopted and promulgated. Therefore, it could no longer be recalled by the Court. At the same time, the group also asked the Court to disclose to the public the original decision and the separate opinions of the magistrates, together with what they had deliberated on just before they came up with the press release about the 8-7 decision. (6%)

(A) Was the announced 8-7 decision already validly promulgated and thus not subject to recall?

(B) If the decision was not yet finalized at the time when the justice died, could it still be promulgated?

(C) If the decision was still being finalized, should the Court release to the public the majority decision and the separate opinions as originally announced, together with their deliberations on the issues?

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