NJ AG declines to oppose Menendez recall committee before NJSC

Terry Hurlbut
Essex County Elections 2010 Examiner

In a stunning development, the New Jersey Attorney General’s office said on Thursday that it will not support the petition for certification by Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ), who is seeking to have the New Jersey Supreme Court quash an effort by a citizens’ committee to recall him from office, this Examiner has learned.

In a letter addressed to the clerk of the Supreme Court, Assistant Attorney General Donna Kelly cited the opinion of the Appellate Division in the case of Committee to Recall Robert Menendez from the Office of United States Senator v. Nina M. Wells et al., stating that invalidating the recall provisions of the New Jersey constitution and authorizing statute would have “grave and momentous consequences.” Kelly indicated the full agreement of the AG’s office with the Appellate Division’s applications of “principles of judicial restraint.”

Recall committee lead counsel Andrew L. Schlafly learned about the State’s response on Saturday evening at about 8:00 p.m. EDT and immediately informed this Examiner.

RoseAnn Salanitri, the chief public spokesperson for the committee, had said on Saturday afternoon that the committee was anxiously waiting for any sign that the State of New Jersey might wish to file its own appeal or petition-for-certification to the Supreme Court. New Jersey’s Rules of Court allowed the State so to act within forty-five days of the Appellate Division’s March 16 decision, which would have been May 1. By sending this letter on April 22, the deadline for response briefs, the Attorney General’s office has effectively signaled that it will not appeal or petition for certification, and that it does not support Menendez’ own petition on the grounds that the Appellate Division acted with judicial restraint, and acted properly.

Read the rest of the article at the Examiner.

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