Home>Highlight>Tiebreaker opposes injunction on Sweeney bid to reclaim redistricting seat

Retired New Jersey Superior Court Judge Philip Carchman. (Photo: New Jersey Bar Association).

Tiebreaker opposes injunction on Sweeney bid to reclaim redistricting seat

Carchman says delays would cause N.J. to miss March 1 Constitutional deadline, says Sweeney can’t prove South Jersey won’t be represented

By David Wildstein, January 31 2022 1:45 pm

Philip Carchman, the court-appointed tiebreaker on the New Jersey Apportionment Commission, is opposing a bid by former Senate President Steve Sweeney to stop the panel from moving forward on redrawing the state’s legislative districts until Mercer County Assignment Judge Robert Lougy decides whether he should be reinstated.

The tiebreaker said that a postponement of commission meetings would force the cancellation of public hearing and “stripping New Jersey’s residents of the opportunity to engage the commission.”

“If the commission’s work is halted during the pendency of this litigation, it is certain that the Commission will violate its constitutional deadline to adopt a new legislative map,” wrote Andrew Gimigliano, Carchman’s attorney.

Last week, Democratic State Chairman LeRoy Jones, Jr. removed Sweeney from the commission and replaced him with Laura Matos.  Sweeney is challenging the move in court.

In Carchman’s view, a delay will mean the state won’t finish the redistricting process by March 1.

“Through that lens, the balance of hardships is clear: the work of the commission, for more than 9 million citizens, outweighs the interest of one person seeking to stop the commission’s work,” Gimigliano claimed.  “That irreparable harm is real and will be forced on the more than 9 million citizens of New Jersey who are served by the Commission and, without question, the 11th Member.”

Carchman also pushed back on Sweeney’s claim that his removal could cause irreparable harm by denying South Jersey a voice on legislative redistricting if he’s not a member of the commission.

“Not so,” Gimigliano told the judge.  “The harm and the hardship, in fact, flow the opposite way.”

According to Gimigliano, Sweeney has not offered “clear and convincing evidence” that South Jersey will not be represented in the process.

“It is speculation,” Gimigliano stated.  “The record before the Court contains no evidence that the other partisan Commissioners or, indeed, the 11th member (Carchman) will not provide a voice to the residents of southern New Jersey in fulfilling the Commission’s duties.”

In documents filed on Sunday, Carchman took no position on Sweeney’s bid to regain his seat should be reinstated but opposed a bid to delay the commission’s work in the meantime.

“The 11th Member takes no position on the merits of Sweeney’s underlying claims but urges the Court—in the interest of New Jersey’s citizens, the duties of the Commission, and the constitutional magnitude of the work at stake—to deny Sweeney’s request for an injunction to stop the Commission from taking further action,” Gimigliano wrote.

Lougy is scheduled to hear oral arguments on Tuesday.

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