The Self Made Pundit
Wednesday, October 02, 2002
DON'T EXPECT BUSH v. GORE II: As anticipated by the Self Made Pundit in yesterday's post, the New Jersey Supreme Court -- four Democrats, two Republicans and one Independent -- embraced small "d" democracy and unanimously ruled that the Democratic Party can replace Senator Torricelli on the ballot. The New York Times reports that the Court held that:
"It is in the public interest and the general interest of the election laws to preserve the two-party system and to submit to the electorate ballot bearing the names of candidates of both major political parties as well as of all qualifying parties and groups."
While the Court was faced with a messy situation, it did the right thing since the right of the people to choose their representatives should be of paramount importance in a democracy and certainly should be given priority in close calls. Preferring the orderliness of the old one-candidate Soviet elections, the Republicans are threatening to appeal this decision to the U.S. Supreme Court.
If the Republicans do appeal, let's see if they have the chutzpah to cite the authority for the proposition that the U.S. Supreme Court can interfere with a state supreme court's interpretation of its own election laws: Bush v. Gore. Don't expect to see that citation, however, since many Republicans -- despite their public defense of Bush v. Gore -- seem to realize that it was a shameful decision that the Supreme Court would prefer to be forgotten. In fact, I doubt the Court would even grant an appeal here since the Justices are not likely to risk rekindling the criticism that would be generated by a second decision in less than two years overturning state election law to effectively deprive voters of the vote and hand an election to the Republican. While the stakes are high -- with control of the Senate possibly turning on this litigation -- this time the Presidency is not at stake.
If the Republicans do appeal, I think they will not only lose the appeal, but they will also alienate New Jersey voters by their efforts to deprive the voters of a choice in the election. But since the new Democratic candidate, former Senator Frank Lautenberg, is likely to defeat the right-wing Republican, Douglas Forrester, if there actually is a meaningful election, don't be surprised if the Republicans do run to the Supremes (though without citing Bush v. Gore).