Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Court rules Tea Party can proceed with recall of Sen Menendez

The case — which puts the state in the unusual position of arguing against its own law and calling part of its constitution unconstitutional — began last fall after then-Secretary of State Nina Mitchell Wells rejected the committee’s notice that it intended to begin a recall effort against Menendez. The removal process requires the secretary of state to approve such a notice before a recall committee can begin generating petitions.

After the notice is approved, the committee then must secure the signatures of 25 percent of registered voters of the affected district before a recall election can be held. There were 5.2 million registered voters in November, meaning the committee would have to secure 1.3 million signatures.

Menendez lawyer Marc Elias argued that the petition drive should be halted because voters do not have the right to recall a federal lawmaker under the U.S. Constitution.

Menendez will be up for re-election in 2012.