A Superior Court judge today rejected the Bayshore Tea party’s motion to enjoin the current legislative map, saying the tea party had not demonstrated that their suit to invalidate the map would succeed in court.
Judge Linda Feinberg said she was inclined to dismiss the complaint entirely but will reserve judgment until the end of next week.
“We are obviously pleased with Judge Feinberg’s decision today and are hopeful the entire complaint will be dismissed next week,” said attorney Bill Castner, who is acting as counsel to the Democratic commissioners.
Had the tea party’s request for injunction been granted all current legislative candidates would have been declared invalid.
The tea party is seeking to have the map thrown out on the grounds that it was gerrymandered and would give Democrats control of the Legislature for the next decade.
The map was chosen in April by the 11-member reapportionment commission made up of five Democrats, five Republicans and a neutral tie-breaking member. The tie-breaker, Rutgers Professor Alan Rosenthal, sided with the Democratic map, all but ensuring the party would maintain control of the Legislature.
The suit claims “the Commission Map in its current construction dilutes or nullifies the voice of the voters in the southern half of the state and in the state’s two largest municipalities, Newark and Jersey City.”
The lawsuit claims the Commission Map over-packed the southern half of the state, causing an unconstitutional 18 percent deviation, which is 8 percent higher than the 10 percent deviation permitted by U.S. Supreme Court precedent. Also alleged in this suit are illegal splits of Newark and Jersey City from three districts each to two.
“These splits dilute the representation of these urban municipalities by reducing the number of elected legislators from 9 representatives to 6 in violation of New Jersey Supreme Court precedent,” according to a release issued by the Bayshore Tea Party.
The legislative map is redrawn once per decade to coincide with the release of new census numbers.