The New Jersey Supreme Court in a 4-2 opinion rejected a tea party-affiliated effort to recall Sen. Bob Menendez on Thursday, finding that an attempt to recall a federal lawmaker was unconstitutional.
The Committee to Recall Robert Menendez charged that voters should be allowed to recall the Democratic lawmaker based on votes he made that they disagree with, including some related to health care, cap-and-trade and immigration.
“The New Jersey Supreme Court today ruled that this fringe effort to recall a leader in the fight against special interests is definitively unconstitutional,” Menendez spokesman Afshin Mohamadi said in a statement. “It is a resounding victory against the Tea Party’s Washington-based right-wing corporate backers, who are waging economic war on the middle class.”
The Associated Press reported that according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 18 states allow recall elections for state officials.
In a dissenting opinion Thursday, Justices Roberto Rivera-Soto and Helen Hoens said the majority on the court was attempting to deny voters the right to criticize elected officials, the AP reported.
“In effect the majority sees the Senate as an institution immune from criticism ... an elitist institution the members of which should not have to be troubled by what the people they represent believe,” the two justices wrote, according to the AP. “Today is indeed a sad and dark day in the history of this court.”
Menendez, a former Congressman, was appointed to the Senate in 2005 after then-Sen. Jon Corzine (D) was elected governor. He won election to a full term in 2006 with 53 percent of the vote, and he will be up for re-election in 2012. Roll Call Politics rates his race as Leans Democratic.