The state Supreme Court has ordered that no 4th District Assembly representative will be appointed until the court decides whether Gabriela Mosquera, whose election victory was overturned earlier this month by a lower court, is eligible to hold the office.
The court is scheduled to hear arguments in the case on January 27, and in an order issued late today said the seat will remain vacant until its decision.
Mosquera’s attorney expressed confidence she would evntually be sworn in.
“While it is unfortunate that the residents of the Fourth Legislative District will not have full representation in the Assembly until the Supreme Court ultimately decides the case, we believe that the final outcome will be that the voters will have their choice honored and Ms Mosquera will be the Assemblywoman,” said William Tambussi, who represents Mosquera. “The State of New Jersey twice ruled her qualified to run and duly certified her election under the rules in effect at the time that the voters made their choice and we fully expect that the Supreme Court to respect the will of the 20,000 people who voted for Ms. Mosquera.”
In a statement, Attorney Matt Wofl, who represents Republican Shirley Lovett, the 4th District candidate who brought the case, said he is hopeful the court will resolve the matter quickly.
“We are very pleased that the Supreme Court is giving this matter particular attention,” Wolf said. “We hope the matter is resolved soon so that the Fourth District gets full representation as soon as possible. Naturally, we also hope that a Republican ends up with the disputed seat.”
Mosquera’s victory was invalidated by a Superior Court Judge, who ruled that she did not meet the state’s one year district residency requirement prior to her election. The court further ruled that Democrats could appoint an interim representative until a special election is held in November.
But earleir this week and appeals court granted Mosquera emergency relief, saying that she had a strong chance of winning the case on appeal and clearing the way for her swearing in Tuesday. Tuesday morning, the Supreme Court agreed to hear the case and halted the swearing in.