Thanks New Jersey

The Torch has been passed.

The U.S. Supreme Court, in refusing to intervene, will allow Democrats to sack Sen. Bob Torricelli in favor of a more attractive candidate in former Sen. Frank Lautenberg. The New Jersey Supreme Court cleared the way last week for the Democrats to switch horses in mid-stream by setting aside a law that forbids new candidates from entering a race within 50 days of an election. Torricelli abandoned his reelection bid 34 days prior to the Nov. 5 election.

In turning their backs on the New Jersey case Monday, the justices may have validated a political move that could forever change state election laws. The Democrats, who took their time investigating Torricelli for ethics violations, stood behind the incumbent when it came time for him to seek re-election. Only when the Torch began falling in the polls, did the Democratic leadership force him to abandon his reelection efforts.

The Democratic-dominated New Jersey Supreme Court upheld this political “bait and switch” and the U.S. Supreme Court’s inaction allows it to stand. New Jersey Democrats rolled the dice and came out a winner. The move may very well preserve the Democrats’ one-seat majority in the U.S. Senate.

With the country and the Congress evenly divided among Democrats and Republicans over the past two years, the Supremes probably felt it was a good time to sit this one out. The U.S. Supreme Court was asked in 2000 to settle a disputed presidential election, so deciding control over the Senate seemed to be asking a bit too much.

The problems with this move are numerous. For one, the Democratic voters of New Jersey placed Torricelli on the ballot during a primary. Lautenberg was nominated by a select few meeting in a smoke-filled room.

Another problem lies in absentee ballots which have already been mailed to those serving in the military with Torricelli’s name on them. Will those ballots be allowed to count? If the race is close with Lautenberg losing, will his campaign sue because so many ballots included Torricelli and not his name? Or will New Jersey election officials invalidate the military ballots thus disenfranchising members of our armed forces? That tactic was tried in Florida.

The worst fallout of this New Jersey tag team tandem will be its effect on election laws throughout the country. Races from now on will be decided by those countless opinion polls and any Republican or Democrat who falls more than 10 points behind in these polls can be replaced by a fresher face.

Who knows, if Del. Jack Rollison ever falls behind in his re-election campaign, the local GOP can insert Sean Connaughton to insure victory. Or if Sen. Charles Colgan is lagging in his re-election bid, the Dems could replace him with Lee Stoffregen. The scenarios are limitless thanks to the New Jersey Supreme Court.

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