CONSTITUTION AND BY-LAWS

New Jersey Constitutional Provisions on Congressional Redistricting

NEW JERSEY STATE CONSTITUTION 1947 (UPDATED THROUGH AMENDMENTS ADOPTED  IN NOVEMBER, 2010)

ARTICLE II

ELECTIONS AND SUFFAGE

SECTION II

1. (a) After each federal census taken in a year ending in zero, the Congressional districts shall be established by the New Jersey Redistricting Commission.
The commission shall consist of 13 members, none of whom shall be a member or employee of the Congress of the United States. The members of the commission shall be appointed with due consideration to geographic, ethnic and racial diversity and in the manner provided herein.
    (b) There shall first be appointed 12 members as follows:
        (1) two members to be appointed by the President of the Senate;
        (2) two members to be appointed by the Speaker of the General Assembly;
        (3) two members to be appointed by the minority leader of the Senate;
        (4) two members to be appointed by the minority leader of the General Assembly; and
        (5) four members, two to be appointed by the chairman of the State committee of the political party whose candidate for the office of Governor received the largest number of votes at the most recent gubernatorial election and two to be appointed by the chairman of the State committee of the political party whose candidate for the office of Governor received the next largest number of votes in that election.
Appointments to the commission under this subparagraph shall be made on or before June 15 of each year ending in one and shall be certified by the respective appointing officials to the Secretary of State on or before July 1 of that year.
Each partisan delegation so appointed shall appoint one of its members as its chairman who shall have authority to make such certifications and to perform such other tasks as the members of that delegation shall reasonably require.
    (c) There shall then be appointed one member, to serve as an independent member, who shall have been for the preceding five years a resident of this State, but who shall not during that period have held public or party office in this State.
The independent member shall be appointed upon the vote of at least seven of the previously appointed members of the commission on or before July 15 of each year ending in one, and those members shall certify that appointment to the Secretary of State on or before July 20 of that year. If the previously appointed members are unable to appoint an independent member within the time allowed therefor, they shall so certify to the Supreme Court not later than that July 20 and shall include in that certification the names of the two persons who, in the members' final vote upon the appointment of the independent member, received the greatest number of votes. Not later than August 10 following receipt of that certification, the Supreme Court shall by majority vote of its full authorized membership select, of the two persons so named, the one more qualified by education and occupational experience, by prior public service in government or otherwise, and by demonstrated ability to represent the best interest of the people of this State, to be the independent member. The Court shall certify that selection to the Secretary of State not later than the following August 15.
    (d) Vacancies in the membership of the commission occurring prior to the certification by the commission of Congressional districts or during any period in which the districts established by the commission may be or are under challenge in court shall be filled in the same manner as the original appointments were made within five days of their occurrence. In the case of a vacancy in the membership of the independent member, if the other members of the commission are unable to fill that vacancy within that five-day period, they shall transmit certification of such inability within three days of the expiration of the period to the Supreme Court, which shall select the person to fill the vacancy within five days of receipt of that certification.

2. The independent member shall serve as the chairman of the commission. The commission shall meet to organize as soon as may be practicable after certification of the appointment of the independent member, but not later than the Wednesday after the first Monday in September of each year ending in one. At the organizational meeting the members of the commission shall determine such organizational matters as they deem appropriate. Thereafter, a meeting of the commission may be called by the chairman or upon the request of seven members, and seven members of the commission shall constitute a quorum at any meeting thereof for the purpose of taking any action.

3. On or before the third Tuesday of each year ending in two, or within three months after receipt in each decade by the appropriate State officer of the official statement by the Clerk of the United States House of Representatives, issued pursuant to federal law, regarding the number of members of the House of Representatives apportioned to this State for that decade, whichever is later, the commission shall certify the establishment of the Congressional districts to the Secretary of State. The commission shall certify the establishment of districts pursuant to a majority vote of the full authorized membership of the commission convened in open public meeting, of which meeting there shall be at least 24 hours' public notice. Any vote by the commission upon a proposal to certify the establishment of a Congressional district plan shall be taken by roll call and shall be recorded, and the vote of any member in favor of any Congressional district plan shall nullify any vote which that member shall previously have cast during the life of the commission in favor of a different Congressional district plan. If the commission is unable to certify the establishment of districts by the time required due to the inability of a plan to achieve seven votes, the two district plans receiving the greatest number of votes, but not fewer than five votes, shall be submitted to the Supreme Court, which shall select and certify whichever of the two plans so submitted conforms most closely to the requirements of the Constitution and laws of the United States.

4. The New Jersey Redistricting Commission shall hold at least three public hearings in different parts of the State. The commission shall, subject to the constraints of time and convenience, review written plans for the establishment of Congressional districts submitted by members of the public.

5. Meetings of the New Jersey Redistricting Commission shall be held at convenient times and locations and, with the exception of the public hearings required by paragraph 4 of this section and the meeting at which the establishment of districts is certified as prescribed by paragraph 3 of this section, may be closed to the public.

6. The Legislature shall appropriate the funds necessary for the efficient operation of the New Jersey Redistricting Commission.

7. Notwithstanding any provision to the contrary of this Constitution and except as otherwise required by the Constitution or laws of the United States, no court of this State other than the Supreme Court shall have jurisdiction over any judicial proceeding challenging the appointment of members to the New Jersey Redistricting Commission, or any action, including the establishment of Congressional districts, by the commission or other public officer or body under the provisions of this section.

8. The establishment of Congressional districts shall be used thereafter for the election of members of the House of Representatives and shall remain unaltered through the next year ending in zero in which a federal census for this State is taken.

9. If a plan certified by the commission is declared unlawful, the commission shall reorganize and adopt another Congressional district plan in the same manner as herein required and within the period of time prescribed by the court or within such shorter period as may be necessary to ensure that the new plan is effective for the next succeeding primary and general election for all members of the United States House of Representatives.

(cf: Article II, Section II, added effective December 7, 1995)


Redistricting Commission By-Laws

NEW JERSEY REDISTRICTING COMMISSION RULES
Adopted on September 6, 2011

Article I – Mandate

The New Jersey Redistricting Commission (the “Commission”) is established and operates according to the mandate set forth in Article II, Section II, paragraphs 1 through 9 of the New Jersey Constitution.

Article II – Organization and Operation

1. The Commission shall adopt Robert’s Rules of Order Revised and shall organize and operate under Robert’s Rules of Order Revised, as standard authority, when not in conflict with its constitutional mandate or these rules.

2. One Co-Chairperson shall be designated from among the Commissioners of each delegation by the Commissioners of each delegation. The Co-Chairpersons so elected shall have the power to act on behalf of their respective Commissioners with respect to such items as may be deemed necessary or expedient by a majority vote of said partisan Commissioners. Each delegation may designate a Vice-Chairperson to act in the place and stead of the Chairperson of said delegation when the Chairperson is absent.

3. The Chairperson of the Commission shall be the thirteenth member. As John J. Farmer, Jr. was selected by the Commission as the thirteenth member, he shall act as Chairman of the Commission.

4. The Office of Legislative Services shall serve as a Secretary to the Commission.

5. Each delegation shall designate their respective legal counsel and such other professionals and staff as they deem necessary. No member of the Commission may serve as counsel, consultant or staff to the Commission or the respective partisan delegations, nor shall any member of the Commission have the power to make appointments without the majority consent of their respective delegation or the full Commission as the case may be.

6. Each delegation Chairperson is authorized to sign vouchers for the funds allocated to that delegation, and the thirteenth member is authorized to sign vouchers for the funds allocated to the thirteenth member. The Commission Chairperson or either of the partisan Chairpersons may sign vouchers for expenditures incurred on behalf of the full Commission upon authorization by a majority vote of the Commission members.

Article III – Vacancies in Membership

In the event a vacancy in the membership of the Commission occurring prior to the certification by the Commission of congressional districts or during any period in which the congressional districts established by the Commission may be or are under challenge in the courts of this State or the United States, the vacancy shall be filled pursuant to the procedures set forth in Article II, Section II, paragraph 1 of the New Jersey Constitution.

Article IV – Voting and Quorum

1. Seven members of the Commission who are physically present or participate via telephone conference shall constitute a quorum sufficient to transact business. For purposes of these rules, any member who participates via telephone conference shall be deemed present for purposes of establishing a quorum or voting.

2. Meetings of the Commission shall be jointly agreed to by the Chairman and the Chairs of each delegation or at the request of seven Commissioners.

3. The agenda for each meeting shall be established by the Chairman. Any member of the Commission may request that an item be placed on the agenda of the next Commission meeting.

4. Seven affirmative votes by the Commissioners present at any meeting at which there is a quorum shall be required for any action taken by the Commission.

5. Notice of any meeting shall be given and shall include a statement of time, date, place and subject matter of the meeting. Notice shall be given by the Secretary to Commissioners at least 48 hours in advance of such meeting. Notice may be given either in writing or electronically. The notice requirement provided above can be waived by seven affirmative votes, which may be cast by electronic means, of the Commissioners. The waiver vote may occur contemporaneously at the outset of said meeting.

6. Pursuant to Article II, Section II, paragraph 5 of the New Jersey Constitution, meetings of the Commission may be closed to the public at the discretion of the Commission, except for public hearings pursuant to Article II, Section II, paragraph 4 of the New Jersey Constitution or the meeting at which congressional districts are certified pursuant to Article II, Section II, paragraph 3 of the New Jersey Constitution.

7. Members of the public may be permitted to speak at public hearings of the Commission only upon being recognized by the Chair.

Article V – Public Hearings

1. The Commission shall hold at least three public hearings in the northern, southern and central parts of the State. The Commission may, subject to the constraints of time and convenience, review written plans for the establishment of congressional districts submitted by members of the general public.

2. The Secretary shall arrange for a Certified Court Reporter or a reporter from the Hearing Reporter Unit of the Office of Legislative Services to be present at public hearings of the Commission to transcribe full proceedings of said public hearing. A written transcript of the public hearings shall be prepared as soon as possible after such hearings and shall be available to the Commissioners.

3. The certified transcript of the above public hearings prepared by the Certified Court Reporter or a reporter from the Hearing Reporter Unit of the Office of Legislative Services shall become part of the official records of the Commission and shall be submitted to the Secretary of State with other official records of the Commission, if any, when the Commission terminates its business.

Article VI – Certification of Establishment of Districts

1. On or before January 17, 2012, the Commission shall certify the establishment of congressional districts to the Secretary of State. The Commission shall certify the establishment of districts pursuant to a majority vote of the full authorized membership of the Commission convened in open public meeting, of which meeting there shall be at least 24 hours public notice.

2. Any vote by the Commission upon a proposal to certify the establishment of a congressional district plan shall be taken by roll call and shall be recorded, and the vote of any member in favor of any congressional district plan shall nullify any vote which that member shall have previously cast during the life of the Commission in favor of a different congressional district plan.

3. If the Commission is unable to certify the establishment of districts by January 17, 2012, due to the inability of a plan to achieve seven affirmative votes, the two district plans receiving the greatest number of votes, but not fewer than five votes, shall be submitted to the New Jersey Supreme Court, which shall select and certify whichever of the two plans so submitted conforms most closely to the requirements of the Constitution and laws of the United States.

4. If a plan certified by the Commission is declared unlawful, the Commission shall reorganize and adopt another congressional district plan in the same manner as required in the New Jersey Constitution and these rules and within the period of time prescribed by the court or within such shorter period as may be necessary to ensure that the new plan is effective for the next succeeding primary and general election for all members of the United States House of Representatives.