UPDATE: Supremes Decide Mosquera (LD4) Cannot be Seated in Assembly
This case certainly has moved fast huh Save Jerseyans? Just a few days ago we were discussing the initial decision that correctly followed the New Jersey State Constitution and enjoined Gabby Mosquera, a rookie Democrat from somewhere outside the 4th legislative district, from taking the seat that she arguably should not have been allowed to run for in the first place.
A few days later the Appellate Division overruled the Superior Court decision and said that she would be seated. However, they did so based on a faulty argument. The Democrat attorney argued that because the federal district court found the residency requirements for the Assembly to be unconstitutional, that any candidate elected prior to the Superior Court’s decision to actually follow the constitution should not be subject to that decision. Essentially that it should only apply prospectively, rather than apply to Mosquera.
This argument ignores two very important legal issues.
- The Federal Courts do not get to determine the constitutionality of New Jersey state laws under the New Jersey Constitution, especially when dealing with matters of state elections. There is simply no precedent that I can find that would make a federal district court’s decision to be controlling on this issue. The New Jersey Supreme Court is the arbiter of what is constitutional within our state, so long as it is in keeping with the United States Constitution, of course. And I do not believe that anyone is arguing that the residency requirement violates the federal constitution.
- The prospective ruling argument was not raised at the trial court level (probably because the Democrats got a bit too brazen for their own good and “knew” they would win) and was not a part of the trial court record. Therefore the issue cannot be raised on appeal. Oops.
The Supreme Court order, which I have uploaded to our server and you can read right here, is less than a page long. It was written by Chief Justice Rabner and essentially states that the Appellate Decision is hereby vacated and the trial court relief is reinstated. Unfortunately that means the initial decision to allow the Democrats to appoint someone new to the seat is back on the table (but probably not for long due to the coming appeals). Justice Albin dissented on the order.
What really amazes me with all of this, and should really raise some eyebrows, is why the Democrats would be so willing to take this risk in the 4th district. Considering the fact that Mosquera is a staffer for Mayor Mayer in Gloucester Township, it is doubtful that they were not aware of her residency situation before asking her to run for the Assembly. Why was it so important that Mosquera, a person whose livelihood was inextricably connected to the South Jersey Democrat Machine, had to be the person to run for this seat despite her obvious ineligibility? Oh wait, I know why…