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Former Supreme Court Justice John E. Wallace, Jr. (Photo: Brown & Connery).

N.J. congressional redistricting commission will hold first public meeting on Wednesday

No timetable on legislative redistricting tiebreaker after call with chief justice

By David Wildstein, August 31 2021 2:25 pm

The New Jersey Congressional Redistricting Commission will hold their first public meeting on Wednesday, September 1 at 11 AM.

The meeting is expected to be short and consider organizational issues related, including bylaws.

Former Supreme Court Justice John Wallace, the winner of an election held by the state Supreme Court to become the tiebreaking 13th member of the panel, is also expected to participate.

Wallace was the candidate of the Democratic commissioners, and he defeated the Republican, former Superior Court Judge Marina Corodemus, in a vote earlier this month by the full court.  The court did not release a tally of how individual justices voted.

The public may watch at: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/84485550642?pwd=US9pYVNsM3dKbmJlOGxwQm1DT3F5QT09#success.  The pass code is: 794451.

A call between Chief Justice Stuart Rabner and attorneys for the New Jersey Legislative Apportionment Commission on Monday included a gentle suggestion that matters related to the appointment of a tiebreaker be closely guarded, the New Jersey Globe has learned.

Rabner offered no specific timeline regarding his pick of a legislative tiebreaker.  He is required to designate his choice within 30 days of the certification of the 2020 U.S. Census.   New Jersey Secretary of State Tahesha Way has said that will come no later than September 30.

Democrats and Republicans, at Rabner’s request, submitted a list of possible tiebreakers on August 17, but there were no matches.

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 – were submitted by both parties to 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.  But those names are now likely burned, since Rabner may want to obviate the appearance that he picked someone from one of the two lists,.

Rabner, sources tell the NJ Globe, has kept the door open to a last-minute agreement between the two parties.

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