The decision not to divide Jersey City into more than two legislative counties was made before Jersey City Mayor Stephen Foulop spoke on the issue, according to Philip Karchman, a former appeals court judge who was appointed by the court’s distribution commission.
Speaking Saturday on the New Jersey Globe Power Hour on Talk Radio 77 WABC, Karchman said he had researched the issue before an initial Democrat presentation that divided parts of Jersey City into three different Goodson County counties.
“I’m going to make a confession. I don’t even know if I told the chairman (Al Barlas) and the chairman (LeRoy) Jones about it, “Karchman said. “I didn’t know about Mayor Fulop’s letter until I thought about problem two and three in Jersey City.”
Karchman said that during the district redistribution process, he read a U.S. Supreme Court ruling on the redistribution of the district in the Alabama Congress, “which raised the issue of the Voting Rights Act and how the United States Supreme Court can decide future voting rights.”
“This, of course, has given me the red flag that if the Voting Rights Act is involved in decision-making in New Jersey, be careful because the United States Supreme Court may look at it differently,” he said. “It’s a quicker reaction in me and the lawyer, but I can honestly say it wasn’t the result of Mayor Fulop’s letter, which I later read.”
He said that while Fulop “raised some issues that needed to be considered,” the innkeeper’s initial reaction to the division of Jersey City “was based on a decision by the United States Supreme Court, not the mayor.”
The decision by the commission to develop a map to only divide Jersey City once led to the creation of a new district in which two incumbent Democratic senators, North Bergen Mayor Nicholas Sacco and Union City Mayor Brian P. Stack, are included in the same constituencies.
On Thursday, Saka announced he would not seek re-election to the Senate, where he served after ousting incumbent President Thomas Cowen (Jersey City) in the Democratic primary in 1993. Instead, Saka approved Stack for another term.
It seems the map has allowed it to gain a new seat in the Jersey City Senate, and Judicial Assembly President Raj Mukherjee (Jersey City) has become a strong leader in the 32nd District.
Jones, chairman of the Democratic State, said he hopes the legislature will consider the legitimacy of the Jersey City division before the next round of district redistribution in 2031.
“As we move forward, simply paying attention to the challenges we have to face that are legal in nature may require the attention of the legislature in the future,” Jones told the New Jersey Globe Power Hour.
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