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Jackman v. Bodine

Decided: July 3, 1967.

CHRISTOPHER JACKMAN ET AL., PLAINTIFFS-APPELLANTS,
v.
JOHN M. BODINE ET AL., DEFENDANTS-RESPONDENTS. THE ELIZABETH DAILY JOURNAL ET AL., PLAINTIFFS-APPELLANTS, V. ROBERT J. BURKHARDT ET AL., DEFENDANTS-RESPONDENTS



For modification -- Chief Justice Weintraub and Justices Jacobs, Francis, Proctor, Hall, Schettino and Haneman. Opposed -- None.

Per Curiam

After our decision in Jackman v. Bodine, 43 N.J. 453 (1964), in which we found the legislative article of the Constitution of 1947 did not comply with the requirements of one man-one vote as delineated by the United States Supreme Court, the people of the State adopted an amendment to the Constitution, which amendment as well as the first work product under it is attacked in the proceedings now before us. These proceedings were consolidated by our order and assigned to the trial court for determination. The trial court rejected the attacks and the appeal from its judgment is now before us.

The constitutional amendments continue a bicameral legislature. Article IV, § II, para. 1 provides that the Senate shall consist of 40 members to be apportioned among Senate districts as nearly as may be according to the number of their inhabitants as reported in the last preceding decennial census of the United States and according to the method of equal proportions. Each Senate district shall be composed wherever practicable of one single county, and, if not so practicable, of two or more contiguous whole counties. Paragraph 2 provides that each Senator shall be elected by the voters of the Senate district, except that if the Senate district is composed of two or more counties and two Senators are apportioned to the district, one Senator shall be elected by the voters of each Assembly district.

Paragraph 3 provides for a General Assembly of 80 members. The basic theme is that there shall be two Assemblymen

for each Senator, and that the Assemblymen shall be elected from districts smaller than the Senate district except where only one Senator is apportioned to a Senate district, in which event the Senate district will also constitute the Assembly district. All other Senate districts shall be divided into Assembly districts equal in number to the number of Senators apportioned to the Senate district. Paragraph 3 continues:

"* * * The Assembly districts shall be composed of contiguous territory, as nearly compact and equal in the number of their inhabitants as possible, and in no event shall each such district contain less than eighty per cent nor more than one hundred twenty per cent of one-fortieth of the total number of inhabitants of the state as reported in the last preceding decennial census of the United States."

The cited paragraph further provides that unless necessary to meet the requirements set forth above, no county or municipality shall be divided among Assembly districts unless it shall contain more than one-fortieth of the total number of inhabitants of the State, and no county or municipality shall be divided among a number of Assembly districts larger than one plus the whole number obtained by dividing the number of inhabitants in the county or municipality by one-fortieth of the total number of inhabitants of the State. The terms of office of the members of the General Assembly are less than those of the Senators.

Article IV, § III deals with the machinery for the creation of districts and for apportionment. It provides for an Apportionment Commission of ten members, five to be appointed by the chairman of the state committee of each of the two political parties whose candidates for Governor receive the largest number of votes at the most recent gubernatorial election. If the Commission is unable to perform its assigned role, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court shall appoint an eleventh member, and the Commission as thus constituted shall, by a majority vote of the whole number of its members, complete its assigned task within one month after appointment of the eleventh member.

The amendment to the Constitution, by way of a schedule annexed to it, Article XI, § V, para. 1, provides that for the purpose of electing Senators in 1967 and until the 1970 decennial census, the 40 Senators are allocated among 15 Senate districts, which are there specified. Paragraph 2 provides that until the mentioned census an Apportionment Commission appointed in the same manner as set forth above shall establish the Assembly districts. Paragraph 3 again provides for the appointment of an eleventh member by the Chief Justice if the original ten appointees shall fail to certify a work product by a specified date. In fact the Commission did so fail, and the Chief Justice did name an eleventh member, after which the Commission made a report signed by eight members.

As stated above, the schedule provides with respect to the election this year for 15 districts. Those districts and the number of Senators assigned to them are the following:

First District -- the counties of Gloucester, Atlantic and Cape May, two Senators;

Second District -- the counties of Salem and Cumberland, one Senator;

Third District -- the county of Camden, three Senators;

Fourth District -- the counties of Burlington and Ocean, two Senators;

Fifth District -- the county of Monmouth, two Senators;

Sixth District -- the county of Mercer, two Senators;

Seventh District -- the county of Middlesex, three Senators;

Eighth District -- the county of Somerset, one Senator;

Ninth District -- the county of Union, three Senators;

Tenth District -- the county of Morris, two Senators;

Eleventh District -- the county of Essex, six Senators;

Twelfth District -- the county of Hudson, four Senators;

Thirteenth District -- the county of Bergen, five Senators;

Fourteenth District -- the county of Passaic, three Senators; and

Fifteenth District -- the counties of Sussex, Warren and Hunterdon, one Senator.

It will be noted that of the 21 counties in the State, 11 constitute separate Senate districts. Each such county has more than or closely approaches one-fortieth of the population (151,670) as determined by the 1960 census. Of the remaining ten counties that are associated with other counties in the formation of districts, two counties, Atlantic and Burlington, have more than one-fortieth of the population but they are joined with other counties in an effort to achieve the requirement of one man-one vote. In general terms it may be said that the heavy population in our State lives along an axis running from New York to Philadelphia with the result that the counties which individually have less than one-fortieth (151,670) of the State's population are located northwest and southeast of that line.

The following table sets forth the Senate districts, constituent Assembly districts, the population in each of those districts, the number of Senators, the percent of relative deviation in the Senate districts and Assembly districts, i.e., the percentage by which the population per district deviates from the mean population per district:

1960 1960

Popu- Popu-

lation lation

by by

Sen. Assem. Coun- Sen. Assem.

Dists. Dists. ties Dists. Dists.

I Glstr. 134,840

Atl. 160,880

Cape M 48,555

344,275

1 A 172,369

1 B 171,906

II 2 Salem 58,711

Cmbld. 106,850

165,561 165,561

III Camden 392,035

3 A 130,543

3 B 128,822

3 C 132,670

IV Ocean 106,241

Burlton 224,499

332,740

4 A 166,366

4 B 166,374

V Monmth 334,401

5 A 167,673

5 B 166,728

VI Mercer 266,392

6 A ...


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