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President John Doe declared Chief Justice Michael "non-functional" and forwarded a reference against him to the Supreme Judicial Council. While Justice Collingwood should have taken his place as Acting Chief Justice, his whereabouts remain untraceable at the moment. [names of persons have been changed]
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(written) opinion
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In other words, he told him tothe councilEmotion: smile
i think "reference" mean

an "opinion" about him and against him to Council
JacksonPresident John Doe declared Chief Justice Michael "non-functional" and forwarded a reference against him to the Supreme Judicial Council. While Justice Collingwood should have taken his place as Acting Chief Justice, his whereabouts remain untraceable at the moment.

I couldn't find any such definition of reference in Merriam-Webster Collegiate Dictionary which fits in the above context. reference is functioning as a noun.

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reference
1: the act of referring or consulting 2: a bearing on a matter : relation <in reference to your recent letter> 3: something that refers: as a: allusion, mention b: something (as a sign or indication) that refers a reader or consulter to another source of information (as a book or passage) c: consultation of sources of information 4: one referred to or consulted: as a: a person to whom inquiries as to character or ability can be made b: a statement of the qualifications of a person seeking employment or appointment given by someone familiar with the person c (1): a source of information (as a book or passage) to which a reader or consulter is referred (2): a work (as a dictionary or encyclopedia) containing useful facts or information d: denotation, meaning
[M-W's Col. Dic.]
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