What to Know
- New Jersey’s Supreme Court has asked the chair of the state’s congressional redistricting commission to explain the grounds of his decision for choosing a Democratic map for the next decade.
- Chief Justice Stuart Rabner wrote Monday to ask commission Chair John Wallace to “amplify the grounds for his decision and present that amplification” to the court next week.
- Rabner’s request comes after Republicans filed a complaint with the Supreme Court over Wallace’s pre-Christmas vote to side with the Democratic map that set congressional boundaries for the next decade.
New Jersey's Supreme Court asked the chair of the state's congressional redistricting commission to explain the grounds of his decision for choosing a Democratic map for the next decade.
Chief Justice Stuart Rabner wrote Monday to ask John Wallace, the commission's chair, to “amplify the grounds for his decision and present that amplification” to the court next week.
Rabner's request comes after Republicans filed a complaint with the Supreme Court over Wallace's pre-Christmas vote to side with the Democratic map that set congressional boundaries for the next decade.
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"Both delegations aptly applied our standards to their map. In the end, I decided to vote for the Democratic map, simply because in the last redistricting map it was drawn by the Republicans. Thus, I conclude that fairness dictates that the Democrats have the opportunity to have their map used for this next redistricting cycle," Wallace said when the commission voted Dec. 22 to approve the Democratic map.
That rationale upset Republicans, who are asking the high court to vacate the decision and send the matter back to the commission for another look.
“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,” GOP Commissioner Doug Steinhardt said in a statement when the complaint was filed last week.
The new map could result in a 9-to-3 Democratic advantage in the state’s 12 U.S. House seats, according to the GOP, though the Democrats did not concede the breakdown. Currently, Democrats hold 10 seats to the GOP’s two. Before Democratic pickups up in 2016 and 2018, the map was split evenly, with Democrats and Republicans each holding six seats.
Wallace was selected as the 13th member of the committee by the state Supreme Court under the constitution after the two parties failed to reach a consensus on the tie-breaking member. His name was put forward by Democrats. Republicans had submitted their own candidate for consideration.
A message seeking a response from Democratic members and Wallace was left with the commission's staff and the head of the Democrats' delegation.