New Jersey Republicans have asked the New Jersey Supreme Court to affirm redistricting tiebreaker John E. Wallace, Jr.’s logic in supporting a Democratic congressional map or to order him to go back and reconsider it.
Wallace, a former Supreme Court Justice, justified his decision by saying that while both sides presented him with good maps, fairness dictated that Democrats should have their map selected after the Republican map was chosen in 2011.
“Both delegations adequately applied our standards to their map,” Wallace said. “In the end, I decided to vote for the Democratic map simply because the last redistricting map was drawn by the Republicans.”
The map submitted by Democrats on the redistricting commission and supported by Wallace appears put one Democrat, Rep. Tom Malinowski (D-Ringoes), in an uphill battle to keep his seat, but gave substantial advantages to three other Democratic House members: Andy Kim (D-Moorestown), Josh Gottheimer (D-Wyckoff) and Mikie Sherrill (D-Montclair). Six other Democrats are in safe districts.
“The redistricting process was designed to be competitive and fair, to produce the best and most responsive map for every New Jersey voter,” said GOP Redistricting Commission Chairman Doug Steinhardt, who suggested that more challenges are forthcoming.
The 13th member, Supreme Court appointed Chairman John Wallace, led a befuddled redistricting process that only ever gave one party the opportunity to succeed and robbed New Jersey taxpayers of a voice. Unfortunately, over 4 million registered New Jersey voters got cheated,” Steinhardt. “It’s against that backdrop that we launch our first legal challenge to Chairman John Wallace’s arbitrary decision to adopt the Democrats’ gerrymandered incumbency protection map.”
The lawsuit was filed by Matthew Moench and Michael Collins.
In their court filing, Republicans said that Wallace “did not engage in any negotiations with the Republican or Democratic Delegations as part of any of these public hearings, nor did any negotiations or discussions take place in private during the time of the public hearings.”
The GOP says Wallace provided feedback on early map submissions and incorporated them int their final proposal.
“At no time during the three-days of discussions did Chair Wallace meet with the two partisan delegations together, nor did the partisan delegations exchange maps,” the Republicans claim.
The Republicans’ proposed map, by contrast, would have similarly given Malinowski a more Republican seat, while also keeping Kim, Sherrill, and possibly Gottheimer in competitive districts.
“The Republican map was better for the people of New Jersey on every metric, from competitive districts to keeping communities of interest intact,” Steinhardt stated. “We owe it to every voter in New Jersey to do better than Chairman Wallace’s ‘they won last time’ logic.”GOP congressional redistricting Complaint with Exhibit