On February 2, 2019 i wrote a blog post entitled “New Jersey Democrats want to give Cory Booker’s Presidential campaign an advantage” about a bill before the New Jersey Legislature that “Requires candidates for President and Vice-President of United States to disclose federal income tax returns to appear on ballot” and “prohibits Electoral College electors from voting for candidates who fail to file income tax returns”. Yesterday the bill passed the New Jersey Senate by a 23 to 11 vote. The bill states that candidates for President and Vice President must now disclose 5 years of federal tax returns to appear on the ballot in New Jersey. Candidates would be required to submit their federal tax returns to the NJ State Division of Elections which would post them online. Electoral College Electors would be prohibited from voting for candidates who don’t comply. This is clearly an attempt to keep the incumbent President off the ballot and give Cory Booker a clear path to the White House.
Republican State Senator Joseph Pennacchio who opposed the bill unsuccessfully made a motion to also have it apply to candidates for Governor and the State Legislature. “Legislation like this puts us on a very slippery slope. Partisan politics should not pick who can and cannot run in this state. Elections will be decided even before the people get a chance to vote. There are also constitutional issues that arise – First Amendment rights, equal protections. These will surely find themselves to the courts. My understanding is that no other state in the union puts this type of disclosure as a requirement for somebody to run as president” Pennacchio said.
Democratic State Senator Bob Andrzejczak crossed party lines and joined Republicans in opposing the bill.
The bill now goes to the Democratic-led Assembly. If the measure is passed there it would head to Democratic Governor Murphy for his signature.
Back in November Governor Murphy signed legislation dubbed “Cory’s Law” allowing Cory “Spartacus” Booker to run for President and reelection to his Senate seat simultaneously. NJ A4674 (18R) sponsored by State Senate President Steve Sweeney states “This bill clarifies that a person may seek the offices of Member of the United States House of Representatives or United States Senator and President or Vice President simultaneously”. Republican state Chairman Doug Steinhardt called Democrats hypocritical for passing the law since some Democrats including State Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg introduced legislation in 2015 that would have forced then Governor Chris Christie to resign if he ran for President. Now that Spartacus has decided to run for President Democrats, as they often do, have changed their collective minds.
New Jersey Democrats are working hard to give Cory Booker a clear path to the White House.
Is this legal? Based on the research I’ve done the answer is maybe. The only challenges to state’s rights to restrict qualified political candidates for federal office has been at the Congressional level. In the case of Powell v. McCormack in 1969 House members tried to exclude the elected Congressman from the legislature. Chief Justice Earl Warren wrote “in judging the qualifications of its members Congress is limited to the standing qualifications prescribed in the Constitution.” Since Powell met those qualifications, “the House was without power to exclude him from its membership,” the Court concluded.
In 1992 the State of Arkansas amended the state constitution barring candidates seeking a fourth term in the U.S. House of Representatives or a third term in the U.S. Senate from having their names on the ballot. In Term Limits Inc. v. Thornton Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens wrote “Allowing individual states to adopt their own qualifications for congressional service would be inconsistent with the Framers’ vision of a uniform national legislature representing the people of the United States”. Justice Stevens continued “If the qualifications set forth in the text of the Constitution are to be changed, that text must be amended.”
I have yet to see a statement from NJ GOP Chair Douglas Steinhardt, a New Jersey Attorney, on the matter.
Why are more Conservatives in New Jersey and across the United States not outraged by New Jersey’s attempt to keep the incumbent President off the ballot? As I sit at my desk this morning angrily writing this blog post I do not understand why Conservatives are not as mad as I am. I do not understand why Republicans in New Jersey will not unite and stand up to Murphy and the State Legislators! We need to stand up and tell Murphy, Sweeney, Coughlin and the rest of the Democratic lawmakers in New Jersey that they cannot run this state like their private kingdom and we will not be denied our right to vote for the incumbent President!
I am calling for Conservatives to unite and file a class action lawsuit against Governor Murphy and the New Jersey legislature. This cannot be allowed to stand. It’s time for us to take our state back! Given there is a Conservative majority on the Supreme Court today which has the potential to increase with rumors about Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s health the best case scenario is this bill makes it before the Court prior to the 2020 election.
New Jersey Republicans are slowing coming together to support the effort to recall Murphy and the March on Trenton. We can come together and fight this! This is the most outrageous infringement by Democrats to date. I am not an Attorney and cannot file a lawsuit but I will do everything I can to help organize the effort to proceed with a class action lawsuit. Feel free to contact me by email firstname.lastname@example.org.
GET MAD NEW JERSEY! THESE DEMOCRATS MUST BE STOPPED!
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