On Thursday, Republican members of New Jersey’s independent redistricting commission asked the Supreme Court to trash the newly drawn district maps.
According to those members, the maps would essentially secure Democratic domination of the congressional delegation for the next 10 years.
“It’s insulting to me as a member of the commission, it’s insulting to me as a voter,” said Republican delegation chair, Doug Steinhardt. “I would have at least liked the courtesy of being told that my map stunk. Justice [John] Wallace did a disservice to 9 million people when he walked away from the process, threw up his arms and basically said he wasn’t going to make a decision.”
The suit that was filed said the commission’s chair and tiebreaking member, retired state Supreme Court Judge John Wallace Jr., was responsible for using “an arbitrary, capricious, and unreasonable vote and reasoning” as he selected the map made by the Democratic commissioners rather than the Republican proposal.
“That’s not the way the New Jersey constitution works and that’s not the way the 14th Amendment works,” added Steinhardt. Wallace had said at the December 22 commission meeting that each proposal met his criteria, however “fairness dictates that the Democrats have the opportunity to have their map used for this next redistricting cycle,” as the previous districts had been drawn by Republicans.
After the suit was filed, he declined to comment. The approved map gave only one Democrat a competitive race in the next election, but Steinhardt said the Republican proposal would have established five competitive districts.
“In a state where Republicans historically garner about 45% of the voted in federal election cycles and hold 17% of the seats, a map that perpetuates that 17% doesn’t make any sense,” Steinhardt continued.
But the Democratic delegation chair, Janice Fuller, said that the lawsuit filed by Republican members was “unfortunate and baseless.” She added, “Justice Wallace engaged in a thorough and thoughtful process with both sides of the aisle to select a fair and representative congressional map. This is simply a last-ditch effort to overturn a fair and impartial outcome.”
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