Thursday, November 18, 2010

New Jersey Supreme Court Rules That Voters Cannot Recall a US Senator

The New Jersey Supreme Court has held that the Constitution does not permit states to recall members of Congress. The ruling ended a Tea Party-backed effort to remove Senator Robert Menendez from office.

As I argued in two previous blog posts, US Supreme Court precedent clearly holds that the Constitution establishes the sole requirements of members of Congress. In the past, the Court invalidated a decision by the Speaker of the House not to seat Representative Adam Clayton Powell due to allegations of ethical misconduct. The Court also struck down a state law that established term limits for members of Congress. In both of these cases, the Court held that the Constitution sets forth the requirements for members of Congress and that neither Congress nor the states could alter those standards.

Furthermore, the Framers of the Constitution considered, but rejected, language that would have permitted the recall of members of Congress. The Constitution, however, allows for Congress to expel members by a 2/3 vote.

The New Jersey Supreme Court agreed with my analysis and reversed a lower court ruling that permitted the recall process to advance. Although the Tea Party frequently invokes the Constitution in its political commentary, the group made a gross misjudgment on this issue.


Sue said...

this news thrills me to no end! Kick them baggers down the road, call 'em road kill!

Darren Lenard Hutchinson said...

Sue: I totally thought about you while I was typing this post. I cannot believe it took this long. I am glad the NJSC did the right thing -- after the appeals court's blunder. This is something my first-year Con Law students get.

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