Sweeney is Still Out

A source tells NJ Insider that as a result of Governor Phil Murphy's appointment of a task force to investigate an NJEDA tax incentive program in place during the administration of former governor Chris Christie and its subsequent criminal referral to the state attorney general, Senate President Steve Sweeney will not prioritize Murphy's wishes during budget proceedings.

Steve Sweeney is still out.

And the work of the panel revising the state’s 40 legislative districts will continue.

Judge Robert Lougy this afternoon denied Sweeney’s request for an injunction to stop the work of what is formally known as the New Jersey Apportionment Commission.

LeRoy Jones, the chair of the state Democratic Party, last week  removed Sweeney as one of five Democratic members on the commission, replacing him with Laura Matos. The move came after Sweeney, the then-Senate President, lost reelection last fall and left office in mid-January.

William Tambussi, who represented Sweeney in state Superior Court, Mercer County, argued that Jones’ action was improper because Sweeney had been appointed to a “fixed term” – ironically by Jones back in the fall of 2020.  And he said that term should run to March 1 when the commission is scheduled to complete its work.

Not so, said the judge.

“I don’t see it,” he said in reference to the fixed term argument. “I don’t see it in the Constitution.”

Tambussi also contended that Sweeney’s removal would be unfair to south Jersey because there would no longer be a Democratic representative on the commission from the eight counties in the southern part of the state.

Sweeney is from Gloucester County. Matos, his replacement, lives in Monmouth County.

Matos does chair the state’s Pinelands Commission, which regulates growth in the Pine Barrens of southern New Jersey. That gives her a connection to that region, but Tambussi said that doesn’t go too far, noting that not many people actually live on the land the commission oversees. (That, of course, is the idea).

At any rate, the judge said the notion of geographic discrimination was merely “speculative.”

Uzoma Nkwonta, who represented state Democratic chair Jones, said the chairman’s power to replace coincides with his power to appoint.

He said this was an intra-party dispute that was not worth the court’s attention. He put it this way:

“Mr. Sweeney’s attempt to enlist this court …. that’s not an appropriate request.”

What happens next is uncertain – up to a point. The apportionment commission’s next meeting is set for Wednesday at noon.

After that, who knows. The judge himself spoke of the possibility of an appeal.

He said he’s the first judge in this legal and political skirmish, but maybe not the last.

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3 responses to “Sweeney is Still Out”

  1. Did Tambussi actually say that not many people live in the Pinelands? The Pinelands Area covers a huge swath of South Jersey spanning parts of seven counties (Atlantic, Burlington, Camden, Cape May, Cumberland, Gloucester, Ocean) and all or parts of 50+ municipalities, with a population of nearly 900,000.

  2. Sweeney got everything he deserved. He’s hated by the people in NJ. He ruined a lot of careers and hurt a lot of good people. He got the karma he dished out. He became a national embarrassment to New Jersey and to America. Sweeney is a big JOKE. People laugh when he walks by. He got his ass served. 😂😂😂😂😂

    Nobody wants to be around this Loser

  3. Sweeney was the most Divisive character who abused his power while serving as senate president

    He interfered state appointed jobs and had the innocent victims fired for NO reason

    He violated civil rights, the color of law and harassed women, sexually, emotionally and mentally

    Sweeney staked people and paid off corrupt editors to write negative stories about those who Sweeney wants to tarnish on these manufacture stories. Sweeney sold our information and sells to data brokers He needs to be under a federal investigation

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