ACRU Cheers New Jersey Court's Approval of Menendez Recall Petition

"It's a huge win for self-government and the rule of law," says ACRU's Susan Carleson.

The Appellate Division of the Superior Court of New Jersey this morning ruled that a petition effort by two state Tea parties to recall Sen. Robert Menendez can go forward, pending an appeal by Menendez's attorney.

The 3-0 ruling by the court says that the petition drive must wait 35 days while the Menendez team decides whether to appeal.

"The ruling today recognizes that the Constitution protects the political expression of the people of New Jersey in circulating and signing recall petitions," said Peter Ferrara, General Counsel for the American Civil Rights Union (ACRU). "This is a precedent with national implications for recall efforts in other states, as well."

The ACRU filed an amicus brief on Feb. 9 supporting The Committee to Recall Senator Robert Menendez, the group formed by NJ Tea Parties United and the Sussex County Tea Party.

After the Secretary of State approves the notice, the recall committee must obtain signatures of 1.3 million New Jersey voters. A previous Secretary of State under the Corzine Administration had ruled against the petition, triggering the court case.

The New Jersey constitutional language, enacted in 1993, became effective in 1995.

"Nine states have language allowing for broad recall of elected officials," said ACRU Chairman and CEO Susan Carleson. "New Jersey's is the most specific. It's a huge win for self-government and the rule of law. The campaign in New Jersey can show the way to groups in other states that are considering recalling up to 11 other U.S. Senators who have voted yes on unconstitutional measures such as the government takeover of health care and who are not on the November ballot."

Click here to read the appellate opinion. (PDF)