Anna Little: New Jersey’s Supreme Court Is Unconstitutional

By Art Gallagher

Former congressional candidate Anna Little told a meeting of the Highlands Republican Club that the composition of the New Jersey Supreme Court is unconstitutional and “we do not have a Chief Justice as far as I am concerned.”  She said she would file suit to challenge the new congressional district map if the court continues to have a vacancy when and if Chief Justice Stuart Rabner appoints a tie-breaking vote to the redistricting commission.

“Governor Christie did not reappoint Judge Wallace, who is on hold-over status,” said Little, “Senator Sweeney won’t approve Wallace’s replacement because Wallace is a Democrat.”

Justice John Wallace left the court in May of 2010 as a result of Governor Christie declining to reappoint him.  Democrats have charged that Christie is tampering with the independence of the judiciary.  Senate President Steve Sweeney has refused to hold hearings on Christie’s nominee to the court, Morris County Attorney Anne Patterson.

In an opinion issued in December, Associate Justice Roberto Rivera-Soto asserted that the Chief Justice Rabner does not have the authority to appoint a temporary justice to fill the vacancy unless necessary to fill a quorum on the court.  Rabner appointed Appellate Judge Edwin Stern to fill the court’s seventh seat.  Five justices constitute a quorum.  Rivera-Soto said he would refrain from participating in decisions so long as Stern sits on the court, declaring that Rabner’s appointment of Stern was unconstitutional.   Rivera-Soto later modified his position, stating that he would vote and issue opinions unless he decides to abstain.  In between the two statements, Rivera-Soto informed Christie that he would not seek to be reappointed when he term expires in September.  Many Democrats, notably Sweeney and former Senate President/Acting Governor Richard Codey have called on Rivera -Soto to resign immediately.

Little caused herself some problems during the 2010 congressional campaign while flashing her constitutional scholar credentials.  In an October 2010 column, Star Ledger columnist Tom Moran said of Little,

“One is left with the feeling that Little hasn’t done her homework. Politics is refreshed by new faces and perspectives, but the best rookies study hard before they swing this wildly. The tea party is bringing us a new breed. They are angry, as we are often told. But isn’t there something arrogant about this, too?”

MMM doesn’t often agree with Moran,  but the shoe seems to fit in this case.

Posted: January 18th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Anna Little, Chris Christie, NJ Supreme Court | Tags: , , , , , , | 14 Comments »

14 Comments on “Anna Little: New Jersey’s Supreme Court Is Unconstitutional”

  1. Constitutional Scholar? So is Obama said at 7:27 am on January 18th, 2011:

    Wallace is not on “holdover” status. He is off the Court. He joined a big-shot law firm last week.

    The NJ Constitution gives the tie breaking pick for redistricting to the Chief Justice, not the Court itself. The make-up of the Court is irrelevant. What does she think she is going to sue them for?

    Anna is rapidly becoming an historical footnote. Too bad.

  2. joe said at 8:05 am on January 18th, 2011:

    Anna, please just go away. Your 15 minutes of fame were up when you self-destructed in what may have been the worst October a Congressional candidate has had in at least a decade.

  3. M.Laffey said at 10:25 am on January 18th, 2011:

    I am very dissapointed in this statement.

    I would advise Anna to step back take a deep breath and realistically reassess where she is going.

    She either shot from the hip before she fully understood the issue or got bad direction from whoever is currently advising her.

    Either way her credibility is now severly damaged and it would take an enormous amount of effort to repair it.

  4. it's ill-advised said at 2:58 pm on January 18th, 2011:

    to be running so hard, when one knows not, if one still lives in a district.. it is actually sad, she has a lot to give, but can’t seem to be able to step out of the spotlight, and wait for a new/better opportunity..would suggest she consider lobbying in DC, in her areas of interest and expertise.. with her multiple-language abilities, she could get a good job, which is what she needs/deserves, and what I’d wish for her..

  5. one thing.. said at 3:04 pm on January 18th, 2011:

    we do know, however, is, the rest of the lib,mostly Whitman appointees ought to retire, so we can get some sense and rationality back on that poor excuse for a bench.. they might as well be the 8th Fed circuit, (or whatever that number is, out there in San Fran, Ca.), with some of the outrageous decisions they’ve rendered in recent years- enough, we just cannot afford these libs/statists any longer, either in office, or on a court, period!!

  6. Eastcoastbuckeye said at 11:25 pm on January 18th, 2011:

    You have stooped so low as to “report” on Anna at a Highlands Republican Club meeting.
    Barely being able to stand still, how you were able to take mental notes is remarkable. Did you let your readers know that Mrs. Little was NOT a speaker at the meeting, that she was merely an audience member? Did you announce to anyone that you were there as a reporter and not there as a Highlands republican? No. Instead you stood there, not taking notes, not asking questions, not doing anything other then hitting the light switch with your back. What have we become when a member of a club has to be careful what he/she says because it might end up on a rag of a website like this? And if this was taped, then I shall remind you, that
    it is a crime to purposely intercept any wire, electronic, or oral communication. It is also a crime to disclose or use the contents of any wire, electronic, or oral communication, knowing or having reason to know that the information was obtained unlawfully. N.J. Stat. § 2A:156A-3.

  7. Charles M said at 11:44 pm on January 18th, 2011:

    @ Joe
    With all due respect she came the closest to beating him since the district was changed. She won Monmouth County which he normally wins by thousands of votes. And she raised the most money since the mid-90s.

  8. Jamaica Moon® said at 2:33 pm on January 19th, 2011:

    Mr. Gallagher, you been listening to too much Reggae music or what? We haven’t seen this sort of anti Little activity since Alan Morretti blogged as the Monmouth Rastaman. Granted, so far you haven’t yet crossed the line like Rastaman, but still this sounds like a personal thing here.

  9. Justified Right said at 2:33 pm on January 19th, 2011:

    Challenge to MMM readers:

    Here is what the Constitution says about the Chief appointing a judge:

    “When necessary, the Chief Justice shall assign the Judge or Judges of the Superior Court, senior in service, as provided by rules of the Supreme Court, to serve temporarily in the Supreme Court.”

    Which of you Constitutional commenters can tell me how “when necessary” is defined, and cite the specific Supreme Court Rule being referred to?

    If you can’t whether you support or oppose Anna Little, my question to you is –

    How in the world did you come to an opinion about that matter at all?

  10. Rick Ambrosia said at 8:37 pm on January 19th, 2011:

    Ahhhh Tommy…the beauty of legaleses. So ambiguous…gotta love it!

  11. Legal Man said at 6:39 pm on January 20th, 2011:

    Let us assume that the Justice appointing sameone to fill Wallaces seat is unconstitutional. I am not saying it is or os not but for the sake of this discussion lets say it is.

    The question I have for you is how that translates into this.

    “the composition of the New Jersey Supreme Court is unconstitutional and “we do not have a Chief Justice as far as I am concerned.” and ” She said she would file suit to challenge the new congressional district map if the court continues to have a vacancy when and if Chief Justice Stuart Rabner appoints a tie-breaking vote to the redistricting commission.”

    Let me answer for you. It dose not.

  12. Justified Right said at 3:09 pm on January 21st, 2011:

    Legal Man –

    In the end you are probably correct.

    I think I know what Anna is thinking:

    If a judge is in a seat illegally, then perhaps his rulings are void.

    I’m not saying I agree with that.

    However, it would at least make for a colorable claim (meaning even if it loses, it isn’t frivolous either).

    Therefore, I think to say that Anna is completely off the rails for thinking that way is just Tom Moran B.S.

    She may turn out to be wrong, but I don’t think frivolous.

  13. let her be, said at 3:39 pm on January 22nd, 2011:

    let her be.. she’s as entitled to her opinions as much as the next citizen..we’re in this new “era of civility”, right?. oh, right, that lasted one week, til when that Dem Congressman likened Rep’s wanting to appeal Obamacare to Nazis..what’s more troubling to me,is the lack of necessary action by the Dem-controlled legislature, on recent appointments- look, folks, you lost, get over it, and get on with the peoples’ business: this is happening at all levels of gov’t., right now!..the only way to move this constipated and childish legislature into doing their jobs, is to take the majority in both houses in this, an “off, low-turnout “year.. in the words of our great Pres.:” elections have consequences”, and, Rep’s need to ” go sit at the back of the bus”, -which he said in’08: of course, this only works when they win and we lose, which is another reason why many become disillusioned with our process, that so many fought and died to preserve!

  14. MoreMonmouthMusings » Blog Archive » MMM Year In Review - January said at 11:09 pm on December 26th, 2011:

    […] a meeting of the Highlands Republican Club, former Mayor Anna Little declared the New Jersey Supreme Court is unconstitutional.   The the club banned MMM blogger Art […]