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Rogers v. State Committee of Republican Party

Decided: May 23, 1967.

SUSY ROGERS, JAMES STREETER, RICHARD J. PAGE, CHARLES E. ROSEN, JR., AND NORMAN P. GOLD, PLAINTIFFS,
v.
THE STATE COMMITTEE OF THE REPUBLICAN PARTY OF THE STATE OF NEW JERSEY, A POLITICAL BODY ORGANIZED PURSUANT TO N.J.S.A. 19:5-4 AND THE STATE COMMITTEE OF THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY, A POLITICAL BODY ORGANIZED PURSUANT TO N.J.S.A. 19:5-4, DEFENDANTS



Schneider, J.c.c. (temporarily assigned).

Schneider

This is a proceeding in lieu of prerogative writs challenging the constitutionality of N.J.S.A. 19:5-4, which statute sets up the state committees of the political parties in New Jersey.

Plaintiffs contend that the state committees of the Republican and Democratic Parties of New Jersey have certain

powers which affect the political and governmental processes of the State. Plaintiffs attack the representation on said committees as fixed by law. Each country has one male and one female member, elected at the primary election. Plaintiffs contend that the representation is improper under the United States Constitution because it fails to provide for a one man-one vote basis. They seek to have the committees dissolved unless the Legislature will amend to provide for the one man-one vote basis.

Plaintiffs are registered voters of the State of New Jersey and the County of Bergen. They claim the right to bring this action by reason of deprivation of equal protection of the laws in the selection of representatives on the state committees.

The Republican State Committee does not dispute plaintiffs right to bring this action. It alleges that it is an organized and duly constituted entity which abides by the laws enacted by our Legislature in conformity with the New Jersey and United States Constitutions. It contends it performs no legislative acts or any other act inconsistent with the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution and which in any way deprive plaintiffs or other citizens of their right to equal protection of the law. They claim protection under the First Amendment to the Federal Constitution and contend there is no direct or substantial injury to plaintiffs by reason of the functioning of this organization.

The Democratic State Committee states it will abide by the decision of the courts. It asks only that if the statute is declared unconstitutional, the State Committee as presently constituted be terminated at the end of the present four-year period.

The facts are conceded to be undisputed. The only evidence offered was a schedule showing the average percentage of Republican voters by county, voting in the primary elections in 1964, 1965 and 1966 as follows:

COUNTIES PERCENTAGE 1960 CENSUS

Atlantic 7.4 160,880

Bergen 13.8 780,255

Burlington 4.1 224,499

Camden 5.0 ...


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