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U.S. Senator Robert Menendez recall (2010)

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U.S. Senator Bob Menendez
An effort to recall U.S. Senator Robert Menendez was launched in New Jersey on September 25, 2009, by members of a Tea Party group in Sussex County, New Jersey.

RoseAnn Salantiri was one of the leaders in the recall effort.[1]

In March 2010, a judge ruled that recall organizers were allowed to move forward with signature collection.[2]

In late May, the New Jersey Supreme Court heard arguments as it considered whether to allow the recall effort to proceed.[3] The New Jersey Supreme Court found that the New Jersey provision violated the U.S. Constitution on November 18, 2010.[4]

State Democrats object

New Jersey State Democratic Party Chairman John Wisniewski attacked the recall effort in March 2010, telling reporters, "The attempt to recall Sen. Menendez is an affront to the voters of New Jersey and has no standing in law. One day these folks are trying to disprove human evolution, the next day they are challenging the constitutionality of the Constitution. These are radical people who chose Menendez off of a list of Democrats because of the sound of his last name."[5]


On January 11, 2010, Nina Mitchell Wells, a Democrat who was the New Jersey Secretary of State, issued a "final determination" letter stating that her office refused to accept a Notice of Intention to Recall and its accompanying petition in the matter of the recall. Wells maintained that the recall provisions in the New Jersey Constitution conflict with the U.S. Constitution.[6]

Sponsors of the recall effort sought judicial review of the determination from Nina Wells and requested reversal of the "final determination" and an order directing the New Jersey Secretary of State to approve the Notice of Intention so the recall group can start collecting signatures.[6]

The Superior Court of New Jersey Appellate Division issued a motion to accelerate the appeal on January 14, 2010.[7]

On March 16, the appellate court ruled that the recall committee was allowed to collect signatures.[8]

U.S. Term Limits v. Thornton

See also: U.S. Term Limits, Inc. v. Thornton

Noted ballot access expert Richard Winger weighed in on the potential recall, saying, "The 1995 U.S. Supreme Court ruling U.S. Term Limits v Thornton also suggests strongly that states cannot recall members of Congress."[9] Winger also noted that in 1967, an Idaho state court ruled that Idaho’s recall procedures cannot be used against members of the U.S. Congress.[9]

Other analysts disagree, saying that the question comes down to a core First Amendment argument. They wrote:[10] Attorneys for the recall committee say:

"The State, asserting only that it has no power to issue a judicially enforceable order to recall a U.S. Senator, argues the Committee has failed to demonstrate a likelihood of success on the merits. However, the State focuses on the wrong issue. This issue before this Court concerns the State’s content-based restriction on the Committee’s right to freely exercise core political speech, not the dispute over whether a recall order issued by the Secretary of State is judicially enforceable as against Senator Menendez or the United States Senate. The Committee has clearly shown a likelihood of its ultimate success on the sole ripe Constitutional issue before the Court, i.e., the right to freely engage in core political speech."

See also

External links