Home>Campaigns>NOW-NJ complains that another white guy picked as legislative redistricting tiebreaker

New Jersey Supreme Court Chief Justice Stuart Rabner. (Photo: Kevin Sanders for the New Jersey Globe)

NOW-NJ complains that another white guy picked as legislative redistricting tiebreaker

National Organization of Women ‘disappointed’ by Rabner’s pick of Carchman

By David Wildstein, October 08 2021 4:16 pm

Women will need to wait until at least 2031 to break any glass ceilings on redistricting tiebreakers after the selections of former Superior Court Judge Philip C. Carchman for the Legislative Apportionment Commission.

Men are now 10-0 in becoming the deciding vote on drawing new district maps, causing the National Organization for Women of New Jersey to complain that “once again women and minorities are to be tokenized and left out of New Jersey’s legislative redistricting process.”

“Despite calls by NOW-NJ and other organizations to move the needle on gender parity on the 2021 Legislative Apportionment Commission, the composition of this year’s commission is a major step backwards for equal representation,” said Anjali Mehrotra, the NOW-NJ president, on behalf of her organization.

Mehrotra, who is also a Democratic State Assembly candidate in the 21st district, accused Rabner of whiffing on “an opportunity to rise to the moment, to correct that injustice by choosing a woman.”

“The announcement that that important role will instead be filled by a white male — as in every other previous Legislative Apportionment Commission — is frustrating,” she said.  “We were hopeful that the Chief Justice understood the need for representation on this commission and that he would make a bold choice signaling a commitment to diversity and inclusion. His choice yesterday is not only indefensible, it reminds us that we must continue the fight against the inertia of the status quo.”

With Carchman, men now have a 9-2 majority on the panel that will draw new legislative districts for the 2023 general election.  Salem County GOP Chair Linda DuBois and Democrat Diane Testa, the Fairview borough administrator, are the lone women on the commission.  Legislative redistricting is also dominated by nine white commissioners; Democratic State Chairman LeRoy Jones, Jr., who is Black, and Essex County Republican Chairman Al Barlas, who is South Asian, are the two co-chairs.

The tiebreaker for the Congressional Redistricting Commission, John E. Wallace, Jr., was the second Black to serve as an Associate Justice of the New Jersey Supreme Court and is the first non-white redistricting tiebreaker.

The selection of congressional and legislative tiebreakers is like apples and oranges.

The State Constitution essentially makes the seven Supreme Court Justices into voters in a partisan election after the six Democrats and six Republicans were unable to agree on a 13th member.  Instead, the court had to vote between Wallace, the Democratic candidate and former Superior Court Judge Marina Corodemus, who was the Republican nominee.

But for the legislative tiebreaker, Rabner had a direct appointment with no constitutional parameters.

Rabner had initially asked both parties to submit their list of candidates and signaled an inclination to pick someone who was on both lists.  Democrats put in eight names – four men and four women – and Republicans submitted three names, including former U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff.  There were no matches.

This also marks the first time an academician hasn’t held the tiebreaker post.  That breaks a 10-0 streak 9-0 streak that began when Princeton University political science professor Marver Bernstein became the court-appointed tiebreaker in 1969.

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