Coughlin Watches for the Payoff Quraishi Pitch

O'Scanlon, Coughlin and Murphy.

Baseball season is practically here and Speaker Craig Coughlin is squatting there behind the plate with a catcher’s mitt right now, waiting for that fastball from Judge Zahid N. Quraishi.

It’s like this:

If Quraishi rules that New Jersey’s bracketing system flies in the face of constitutional justice, he will lay out the reasons why, then send those reasons to the New Jersey Legislature. Hence, Coughlin clenches that leather mitt, with the words iustitia caeca written it, where others might have the scribbled signature of a big league ballplayer.

The constraints of the federal court as defined by the judge will guide Coughlin – or whoever chairs the committee the case ends up in – to set right a system deemed unconstitutional.

New Jersey – still unconstitutional after all these years, at least according to Quraishi.

How’s that for a state slogan?

The legislature will then take the judge’s guidelines and, make revisions in order to make the voting or balloting system constitutional.

But here’s the rub for Coughlin.

While a mere nine days stand between now and the start of baseball season, the petition deadline for candidates running for office in the 2024 primaries is marked March 25th.

Just six days from now.

In the words of one chair, speaking to InsiderNJ on condition of anonymity, “We’re f-cked.”

This week, behind-the-scene questions abounded regarding process – and a timeline.

Would the judge’s ruling, again if indeed he rules as insiders believe he will rule, apply to this season – not baseball, politics, let’s stay on point here – or would the time crunch make it applicable to 2025?

Would New Jersey have to push the primary back?

That was the frantic question of one chair trying to prepare for the consequences of the Constitution, at least adjudged by this particularly pressing federal judge.

Well, if it was any consolation, there is some precedent here.

Major League Baseball pushed back their season in 2020.

It started in July that year, but that was on account of COVID, not the courts.

Now, in the shadows of Trenton cast by those ever-present bleachers filled with public opinion, Coughlin has his eyes locked on that guy on the mound, as he goes into his windup.

EDITOR’S NOTE: The judge won’t rule on this case this week, as he wants some things by this coming Monday.



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