Court rules Tea Party can attempt to recall Menendez

A New Jersey appellate court ruled Tuesday that a Tea Party group can proceed with its effort to recall Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.)

The court decided that the Secretary of State must accept a petition to recall the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) chairman, the Newark Star Ledger reported:

The court stayed its decision to allow Menendez (D-N.J.) to appeal its ruling.

NJ Tea Parties United and the Sussex County Tea Party are targeting Sen. Menendez, (D-N.J.) because he supports health-care reform. Members also oppose his past votes in favor of government spending.

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.

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