New Jersey Republicans in the Senate and Assembly have filed suit in Superior Court to stop a State House mandate – adopted by Democrats – barring capitol access to anyone who isn’t vaccinate or willing to submit to weekly testing.
“We’re petitioning the Court for emergent relief to block enforcement of an exclusionary policy that we believe is unconstitutional and undemocratic,” said state Senator Steven Oroho (R-24) who was recently elected minority leader for the 2022-2023 session. “With the policy taking effect today, we felt compelled to take action to ensure continued public access to the Statehouse and the legislative process. On a personal level, we’re deeply concerned about the unnecessary conflict the Democrats’ policy creates by turning the State Police who guard the Statehouse into the vaccine police. Our Troopers have a hard enough job in the current environment without being forced unnecessarily into the middle of this extremely divisive and emotional issue. They deserve better.”
The legislative Republicans’ arguments include that the State Capitol Joint Management Commission mandate violates the separation of powers embedded in New Jersey’s state constitution; at present, the commission includes executive branch appointees which means Governor Murphy can directly influence which legislators are allowed into the legislative chamber.
“Many Republicans in my caucus object to this new Statehouse policy because it is unfair to the public and is unconstitutional. Unfair because of how it affects the public from participating in the democratic process, and unconstitutional because the commission has no authority over how lawmakers legislate – especially in the Statehouse,” added Assemblyman John DiMaio (R-23), Oroho’s counterpart-elect in the lower chamber. “Democrats cannot prevent legislators from representing the people who elected them, but that is what they are trying to do.”
Click here to view the full complaint.
The mandate took effect on Wednesday (December 1st); it’s an open question how the State Police will react if non-compliant legislators show up to Thursday’s voting session.