Newly elected New Jersey Assemblywoman faces court challenge

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December 15, 2011

New Jersey: A newly elected New Jersey assemblywoman faces a lawsuit claiming she is ineligible for the seat since she did not meet residency requirements. Democrat Gabriela Mosquera defeated Republican Shelley Lovett in New Jersey's 4th District race and is slated to take office in January. Lovett, however, is taking the matter to court, saying Mosquera did not live in the district long enough.[1]

Citing New Jersey Constitution requirements that a candidate must live for at least one year in the district they represent, Lovett says Mosquera, who moved into the 4th District boundaries in December 2010, was ineligible to represent New Jersey's 4th.[1]

Mosquera's lawyer, Bill Tambussi, contends that since New Jersey was undergoing redistricting, the one-year requirement does not apply. Furthermore, he says a prior court case has established that the state constitution violated the U.S. Constitution, and that the residency requirement only holds for out-of-state candidates. Since Mosquera lived in New Jersey the whole time, Tambussi says, she was eligible for the seat.[2]

Lovett's lawyer, on the other hand, says he wants to see the state constitution enforced. He holds that: "[Mosquera] wasn’t in the district either way. She's pretty much a complete stranger to the constituents in the district."[1]

The New Jersey Superior Court will hear the case on December 19.[2]

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