Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) has appealed to the state’s Supreme Court to halt a tea party-led recall effort against him, the Associated Press reported Tuesday.
In mid-March, a New Jersey appellate court ruled that an effort to recall Menendez under a New Jersey law could proceed, although it stayed that decision pending expected appeals from Menendez and state officials, who are both defendants in the case.
The Committee to Recall Robert Menendez from the Office of U.S. Senator — a trio of state tea party activists — first filed a recall notice with the New Jersey secretary of state’s office in late 2009 under a provision of the state’s constitution that allows for the recall of any House or Senate lawmaker, or state or local official.
The recall committee filed its lawsuit after the state rejected its first application as well as a second version, stating that the U.S. Constitution does not include any provisions for the recall of Senate or House lawmakers, nor does any federal statute.
In its request to the New Jersey appellate court, the recall committee argued that its effort comprised “core political speech,’ protected by the First Amendment,” and should be allowed to proceed.
The group also argued that the question of whether the recall would violate the U.S. Constitution is not yet “ripe” for judicial review, meaning there is no pressing need for the court to review that specific conflict.
The appellate court concurred in its March opinion, ruling that the recall group should be allowed to try to solicit the 1.3 million signatures it needs to put the recall on a state ballot.
Menendez did not seek to join the lawsuit himself but is required to take part as an “indispensable party” by the court.