New Jersey Supreme Court Rules State Constitution's Recall Law Unconstitutional
November 19, 2010
ACRU will file amicus brief when case involving effort to recall Sen. Robert Menendez is appealed to U.S. Supreme Court.
The New Jersey Supreme Court ruled 4-2 on Thursday that a provision in the state Constitution providing for recall of all elected officials, including Congressmen and U.S. Senators, was unconstitutional, overruling a unanimous lower court decision..
“This decision sets up a perfect test case over whether we the people in America will enjoy the freedom to maintain the continuous democratic accountability provided by recall, which is now essential to maintaining a functioning democracy in our country,” said American Civil Rights Union General Counsel Peter Ferrara, who wrote an amicus brief in the case supporting the right of recall. “That decision needs to be made by the U.S. Supreme Court.”
Andy Schlafly, attorney for RecallNJ, said he plans to appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court. When he does so, the American Civil Rights Union will file another amicus brief.
Mr. Schlafly said, “Inherent in the power to hire is the power to fire, and inherent in the power to elect is the power to recall. Yet the New Jersey Supreme Court took the unusual step of declaring its own constitution unconstitutional, thereby depriving the people of their sovereign power.
“In so ruling, a slim majority of the New Jersey Supreme Court held that the people of New Jersey were wrong, the New Jersey legislature was wrong, and George Washington was wrong to side with the power to recall. Less than two months after completion of the Constitutional Convention, Washington confirmed that the people would be able to recall federal officials under the new government. Now the New Jersey Supreme Court says otherwise.
“This issue will be taken to the U.S. Supreme Court next.”
Another case involving a recall petition effort against a U.S. Senator awaits a decision from the North Dakota Supreme Court. For more information on recall laws in 11 states, visit www.recallcongressnow.org.