Home>Campaigns>Here are the candidates for legislative redistricting tiebreaker. There are no matches

Former New Jersey Supreme Court Chief Justice James Zazzali, left, and former U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff.

Here are the candidates for legislative redistricting tiebreaker. There are no matches

Former Chief Justice, ex-Homeland Security Secretary are among 11 names submitted by both parties

By David Wildstein, August 17 2021 12:19 pm

There are no matches for the 11th member of the New Jersey Legislative Apportionment Commission, leaving Chief Justice Stuart Rabner to pick the tiebreaker – unless both parties are able to come to an agreement after seeing each other’s names.

The list of eleven names – eight from the Democratic side and three from the Republicans – includes former federal and state judges, three college professors, and a former cabinet member who served under governors from both parties, the New Jersey Globe has learned.

The names – former U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff, former New Jersey Supreme Court Chief Justice James Zazzali, former U.S. District Court Judges William Bassler and John Lifland, former state Supreme Court Justice Virginia Long, former acting Supreme Court Justice Mary Catherine Cuff, former Superior Court Judge Daniel Mecca, former Commissioner of Human Services Jennifer Velez, retired Rutgers professor Henry Coleman, Seton Hall Law School professor Paula Franzese, and Seton Hall political science professor Matt Hale – will be submitted today by both parties Stewart Pollock, a retired state Supreme Court Justice.

Republicans submitted Chertoff, Bassler and Lifland.

Had there been a match, Rabner had indicated he would be likely to pick that person.

Unlike the process of selecting a congressional redistricting tiebreaker – which required both parties to vote and put an election between the top two vote-getters before the full Supreme Court — the State Constitution gives the chief justice the authority to appoint the legislative redistricting tiebreaker without any strings attached.

Rabner has indicated that he would not review the list of names being submitted, a move that might allow him to pick someone on one of the two lists without knowledge that they were there.

The Democratic list included four women, one Black man and one Latina.   The GOP list consists of three white men who all served as federal judges.

Earlier this month, the Supreme Court picked the Democratic candidate for tiebreaker on congressional redistricting, former Supreme Court Justice John Wallace.

The U.S. Census Bureau released population data for use in redistricting last week.  For the purposes of redrawing legislative districts, population numbers will be rejiggered by Thursday to reflect original hometowns of people currently incarcerated in state prisons and county jails.

Neither party has formally submitted their names to Pollock.  Today is the deadline set by Rabner, who granted a one week extension, and the list could change before it is transmitted.

Bassler, 83, served as a U.S. District Court Judge from 1991 to 2006.  He was nominated to the Superior Court by Gov. Thomas Kean in 19888 and then to a federal judgeship by President George H.W. Bush in 1991.

Chertoff, 67, was the U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security under President George W. Bush from 2005 to 2009.  He is a former judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 3rd Circuit and was the U.S. Attorney for New Jersey from 1990 to 1994.   He also served as an Assistant U.S. Attorney General.

Coleman, 72, is a professor emeritus at the Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy ay Rutgers University.  He served as executive director of the New Jersey State and Local Expenditure and Revenue Policy Commission and was assistant director for operations and research in the New Jersey Office of State Planning. Coleman was a senior policy advisor to Gov. Jim Florio.

Cuff, 73, served as an acting state Supreme Court justice from 2012 to 2016 during a time when Gov. Chris Christie and the State Senate were logjammed over top court nominations.  A former deputy state attorney general and federal prosecutor, she served as a Superior Court judge from 1988 until her retirement in 2016.

Franzese, 61, is a law professor at Seton Hall University. She served as a special ethics advisor to Gov. Richard Codey and Newark Mayor Cory Booker, as vice chair of the New Jersey Election Law Enforcement Commission.

Hale, 52, is an associate professor of political science at Seton Hall University and a Democratic councilman in Highland Park.

Lifland, 88, is a former U.S. District Court Judge.  He was nominated to the bench by President Ronald Reagan in 1988 and served until his retirement in 2007.

Long, 79, served as an associate justice of the New Jersey Supreme Court from 1999 until 2012.  She served in Gov. Jim Florio’s cabinet as state banking commissioner and eleven years as a Superior Court judge.  Long had been considered by Democrats as a candidate for congressional redistricting

Mecca, 76, spent more than fifteen years as Superior Court Judge and was the presiding civil court judge in Bergen County.  He has served on the New Jersey Joint Legislative Committee on Ethics.

Velez, 55, served as Commissioner of Human Services under Govs. Jon Corzine, a Democrat, and Christie, a Republican.  She currently holds a top post at Shatterproof, an addiction crisis non-profit.

Zazzali, 82, served as chief justice from 2006 to 2007 and spent six years as an associate justice. He served as attorney general under Byrne and chaired the State Commission of Investigation.

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