By: Varney Dukuly
MONROVIA: Presidential nominee for the post of Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Liberia, Madam Sie A-Nyene Youh, has told Senators on Capitol Hill that if she is confirmed, her decisions on legal issues will be tailored on what the law says, and not the argument of reasoning as many believe.
“Since my graduation from law school some forty years ago, I have lived in the legal profession. My resume is before you, Honorable Senators,” she said.
Justice Youh argued that she does not believe that Law is reasoning rather ‘the law is the law.’ She stressed that the execution of the law should be based on what the law says and not the reasoning of an individual.
“This is my philosophy; and this is what I ascribe to; and that is what I believe each time I type and put my pen to draft an opinion for the Supreme Court,” she added.
During her confirmation hearing on Friday, August 26, 2022, Justice Youh asserted that when confirmed the Liberian people should expect to see more work from her especially in making the court accessible and swift in addressing issues arising in the court.
On the question of what she would like to see changed in the Judiciary if confirmed, Justice Youh stressed that she will prioritize a digitize system for the Judiciary branch of government which continue to operate far below the 21st digital world.
The Chief Justice designate also highlighted the issue of non-compliance with respect to the act on financial autonomy of the Judiciary, stressing the need for support when it comes to contingency budget.
“My reason for highlighting non-compliance of the judicial financial autonomy is to emphasize the need for the three branches of government to utilize the coordination clause as enshrined in Chapter One, article 3 of the constitution to ensure that the Judiciary is financially functional to avoid the Judiciary constantly inviting the Minister of Finance to ensure compliance to the Financial autonomy act,” she said.
On top of her plead for financial independence in the judiciary so as to enhance their workings, Justice Youh stands to grapple also with the issue of reform, corruption, and over crowdedness of prison facilities.
Moreover, issues of corruption, including bribery, among others as contained in multiple international reports have placed a dark cloud on the independence of the country’s judicial system.
Justice Sie A- Youh, if confirmed by the Senate, will add up to the list female Chief Justices of Liberia including former Chief Justices: Frances Johnson Morris Allison and Gloria Musu Scott.
The new Chief Justice was born in Montserrado County, Republic of Liberia. She obtained her high school education and diploma from the St. Teresa’s Convent, a Catholic High School in Monrovia in 1974. Thereafter, she enrolled at the Cuttington University College (CUC), now Cuttington University (CU) in Suakoko, Bong County, in pursuit of her tertiary education where she graduated in 1978 with a Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree in Political Science. In 1979, Justice Yuoh enrolled at the Louis Arthur Grimes School of Law, University of Liberia, where she was trained as a lawyer.
In 1981, she successfully completed her law studies at this institution and obtained a Bachelor of Laws (LLB) degree and was subsequently admitted into the Liberia National Bar Association as an Attorney-At-Law. Her Honor was also admitted as Counsellor-At-Law of the Supreme Court Bar in 1988.
Associate Justice Yuoh began her public and professional service within the Executive Branch, Republic of Liberia, first at the Ministry of Justice as an Assistant Minister for Legal Affairs from 1983 – 1985, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs as the Coordinator, African Affairs, 1988 – 1990, the Central Bank of Liberia (CBL) as Corporate Secretary/Assistant Legal Counsel/Secretary, Board of Governors of the Central Bank of Liberia (CBL) from 2000 – 2003 and lastly at the Law Reform Commission, where she served as Acting Executive Director and Commissioner respectively from July 2011 – April 2013.
She also extended her professional legal services within the private sector where she served as Associate and Legal Counsel at the David A.B. Jallah Law Firm, on Johnson Street, Monrovia Liberia, from 1994 – 2000.
In 2013, Madam Justice Yuoh was nominated, appointed and subsequently commissioned as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of Liberia.
Justice Yuoh has proudly served as Vice President of the Liberia National Bar Association (LNBA) from 1994 – 1998; was a founding member of the Association of Female Lawyers of Liberia (AFELL) and served as its 1st Vice President from 1997 – 1998; Chairperson of the Judiciary Committee of the Liberia National Bar Association (LNBA) from 2012 – 2013 and also served as President of the Maryland County Local Bar Association in 2013.
Her Honor, Justice Yuoh is married, and she and her husband, are blessed with ten children and two grandchildren.