Judge Quraishi’s Bizarre Clarification

The Gold Dome.

Let’s see if we have this straight.

It’s wrong for Democrats to have an unfair primary, but it’s OK for Republicans.

That’s the only logical conclusion one can reach from Saturday’s bizarre clarification by federal Judge Zahid Quraishi of his Friday opinion opposing a “county line” in New Jersey politics.

The judge, acting on a suit led by Senate candidate Andy Kim, issued an injunction barring what has been the traditional way of compiling primary ballots in the state – that is, with county political bosses giving endorsed candidates the best ballot position.

This ruling at the start of Easter weekend rocked the state’s political establishment.

It’s true that this legal challenge has been very much a Democratic thing, given the fact all the plaintiffs were Dems. But the assumption was the ruling would impact primaries of both parties.

Then came Saturday.

That’s when the judge issued a brief statement, the gist of which said:

“The court’s order is therefore limited to the 2024 Democratic primary election only, and this court declines to extend the scope of its decision beyond the limitations of the present litigation.”

So for the GOP, it’s business as usual.

Credit for prodding the judge to further explain his opinion goes to the Morris County Republican Committee, whose lawyers asked the court for just that type of clarification.

There is some background here.

For years. Morris Republicans did not have a “line” meaning all primary candidates ran on their own. It was this system, by the way, that allowed a then-unknown to get elected to the freeholder board in 1994. That was Chris Christie.

Three years ago, however, the county committee voted in a line, and judging from the letter from lawyers Peter King and Matthew Moench, they don’t want to give it up.

Guess they won’t have to,

A “tweet” that Laura Ali, the county chair, sent out Saturday night said simply:

“Morris GOP saves the line.”

But by any objective analysis, isn’t this – to use a non-legal term – a crazy decision by Quraishi?

We now can very likely have Democrats and Republicans holding primaries under different rules.

In his Friday opinion, the judge wrote that “the integrity of the democratic process for a primary election is at stake …”

Indeed it was, but who knew integrity was only at stake for Democrats?

Let’s see what happens now.

There was push-back in Morris against creating the line in 2021 and you can expect that sentiment to pop up again.

There’s also the strong possibility of litigation.

Building on the success of the Kim suit, wouldn’t a similar suit filed by Republicans be equally successful? After all, a precedent was just set last Friday.

And in fact, The America First Republicans of New Jersey, a MAGA group, says it plans to do just that.
Mike Crispi, the co-chair, said in a statement that his group already has recruited several plaintiffs and he invited “any Republican candidate, committee, and PAC who wants to see the constitutional rights of New Jersey Republicans protected as much as the Democrats” to join the action.

Isn’t bipartisanship great?

Trump Republicans and liberal Democrats on the same team.






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One response to “Judge Quraishi’s Bizarre Clarification”

  1. While I agree, it does seem bizarre to have only the Democrats be able to get rid of the “line,” and not the Republicans, I think there is a deeper logic Quraishi is going for.

    The lawsuit was brought by Kim and his co-plaintiffs, seeking emergency relief for what they believed was a wrong against them. The Judge, understanding that this was a wrong against THEM, decided to grant emergency relief to the parties most affected; this being Kim and his co-plaintiffs. The Republicans so far have kind of just watched from the sideline, and only asked for clarification when the decision came down.

    Quraishi granted the emergency relief for the duration of the trial. So, when the trial reaches it’s conclusion and he rules (what I believe he likely will), that the line overall is unconstitutional THEN the line will come down for all races, no matter what party, for all current and future races.

    So overall I think it is some niche legal logic he’s using.

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