The Bayshore Tea Party and 38 others Thursday filed a lawsuit in state Superior Court challenging the constitutionality of the newly adopted map that sets the boundaries of New Jersey’s 40 legislative districts for a decade.
The plaintiffs, who come from all of the state’s 21 counties, charge the map violates the state and federal Constitution because South Jersey districts generally have larger populations while North Jersey districts have smaller ones.
“This lawsuit is crucial to protect the longstanding ‘one person, one vote’ principle,” Barbara Gonzales, the Bayshore Tea Party founder, told The Star-Ledger. “I hope our diligence will raise voter awareness of the voters of New Jersey to recognize the value of their vote.
The map was adopted on April 3 after a two month long redistricting process. Democrats and Republicans created competing maps, and the appointed tiebreaker, Rutgers professor Alan Rosenthal, voted in favor of the Democratic version.
The Bayshore Tea Party offered a map it called “The People’s Map,” but neither the Republicans nor the Democrats agreed with its proposed districts.
The law claims that reducing the number of times Jersey City and Newark are split – from 3 to 2 – “dilutes and nullifies the voices of the voters there.”
Assemblyman John Wisniewski (D-Middlesex), the Democratic co-chairman of the redistricting commission, Thursday said he believes the map will withstands the court challenge.
“We are extremely confident in the constitutionality of the recently adopted map, which underwent a through review by not only our attorneys, but former Attorney General John Farmer, who served as counsel to the 11th member of the commission,” Wisniewski said. “This is a map that not only met traditional redistricting criteria but improved upon compactness, competitiveness and one-person, one-vote standards and will ultimately be found constitutional.”
— TOM HESTER SR., NEWJERSEYNEWSROOM.COM