As deciminyan reported earlier, the Supreme Court vacated the Appellate Division’s order from yesterday allowing Gabriela Mosquera to do the job that she was elected by a majority of 4th District voters to do.
This decision was shocking, because as I wrote yesterday, the Appellate Division’s decision to allow Mosquera to be sworn in was by far the more conservative and common sense ruling. Mosquera relied on a decade-old federal court order and the certification of the Secretary of State (i.e. the Lieutenant Governor) that she was an eligible candidate. She won the election. And after the fact, her opponent decided that because she lost it would be a good time to challenge – instead of bringing the challenge, say, when the Secretary of State certified her as a candidate.
But something weird happened this morning.
The Attorney General sent a last minute hail mary letter to the Supreme Court, arguing that a stay was necessary. That looks a little weird – because the Attorney General, consistent with the Secretary of State’s position, had argued in trial court that Mosquera was eligible.
What does it look like? It sure looks like orders came from the top to try to take out a Democratic Assemblywomen by manipulating legal arguments. Let’s take a look at how problematic this is. First, the Secretary of State – who is after all the Attorney General’s client – said it was OK for Mosquera to run. Then in the original argument, the Attorney General – said it was OK for Mosquera to run. Now, when it gets to the Supreme Court the Attorney General – says it was NOT ok for Mosquera to run.
And why? Politicker reports that Chiesa wrote:
“To the extent that the Appellate Division’s Stay Order allows Mosquera to take the oath of office in the General Assembly and said oath deprives the judiciary of available remedies, the Stay Order constitutes irreparable harm”
Let’s translate that, because it makes no sense. What they are saying is that they believe the Legislature ultimately decides who takes the oath of office (which is what the Constitution says), not the judiciary. But the judiciary should stop the Legislature from doing what it is constitutionally required to do, so that it can make the decision instead of the Legislature. To not to would “deprive the judiciary of available remedies.”
So Christie is asking the judiciary to perform functions the Legislature is required to decide on by the Consitution, and reversing his prior legal positions – all to try to win an election that the voters said that he lost. Next time Christie rails against judicial activism, remember all of this. It’s only judicial activism when Chris Christie doesn’t get what he wants.
The Supreme Court’s order today says that its decision is pending a further order. Let’s hope that when the dust settles, and the Court has more than an hour to study the Attorney General’s conflicting positions, they see this one for what it is – an attempt by the Christie Administration to politically manipulate the judiciary to trump the Administration’s own prior decisions, the voters’ will, and the Legislature’s constitutional powers.