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Thursday, October 03, 2002
Democracy means voting for Democrats
It's difficult to find someone who isn't an extreme Democratic partisan who believes that Wednesday's New Jersey Supreme Court ruling was correct. So it's hardly a shock to read that the New York Times editors think that the decision was fine and dandy. In fact, they title their editorial, arrogantly, "New Jersey Gets a Senate Race" -- as if a race isn't a race without a Democratic candidate. Or, rather, a likeable Democratic candidate, since the ballots in question had a Democratic candidate on them.
Meanwhile, the Republicans seem ready to continue their legal efforts to provide their own candidate, Douglas Forrester, with what would amount to a free pass. But it's hard to see how they can build the basis for a successful federal court challenge to the state court's decision. Their obstructionism could also alienate voters.
Obstructionism? It was the Democrats suing to abort the election process so that they could change their candidate. It's true that a federal case would be difficult to make; there's no Constitutional issue here. On the other hand, the New Jersey Supreme Court ignored the law, so why couldn't a federal court?
The court gave these arguments a respectful hearing. But in the end it ruled, rightly, that the greater need was to ensure "full and fair ballot choice for the voters of New Jersey." The decision came not a moment too soon. There are only 33 days left until Election Day. But this is time enough to make the necessary arrangements — printing new ballots, for example — and for the two major party candidates to engage in a vigorous debate on the issues.
The "respectful hearing" was a couple of hours; the court didn't even pretend to deliberate before issuing its decision.

But the best part of this is the Times' juxtaposition of the claim that voters deserve "full and fair ballot choice" with the assertion that only "the two major party candidates" need debate the issues.

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