Roger wrote, "That ruling makes no sense, as there was no vacancy (Torricelli did not become ineligible), and no law could prelude a vacancy anyway."
I disagree. Torricelli has the right to quit the race, and he did. That creates a vacancy, regardless of whether he serves out his existing term.
Roger wrote, "it is not clear that he can withdraw, legally."
Slavery is prohibited. Torricelli can quit, and not be compelled to continue.
Torricelli can quit campaigning. He cannot be forced to actively pursue the office. I agree with Andy on that. But he may not be able to get his name off the ballot. It is possible that he could quit the race and still be a candidate for office.
Does NJ have a mechanism in which a candidate on the ballot can ask that his votes not be counted? Did Torricelli do that?
I don't think so. All he did was to announce his intention to quit campaigning. If his name stays on the ballot and he wins, then he can take office as the elected winner. So there is no vacancy. The Democratic Party announced its intention to replace Torricelli with Lautenberg. But the deadline was past, so the Party had no right to do this under the law. So again, there was no vacancy.
I now looks like Torricelli's name will not be on the ballot, so I guess I was wrong about that. A blatantly political fix by a crooked NJ supreme court has ordered a name substitution past the deadline and without there being a vacancy. I doubt that the US Supreme Court will have the guts to hear the case.
I agree with this:
What the Democrats could do is this: Acknowledge that they are stuck with Torricelli on the ballot. Torricelli promises that if he is elected, he will promptly resign. Then, Governor McGreevey could appoint a Democratic replacement with fewer ethical problems. The replacement could serve until the 2004 general election (although another New Jersey statute gives McGreevey the discretion to call a special election sooner). The Democrats, Torricelli, and McGreevey could even announce in advance who the replacement would be. Voters who trust Torricelli to keep his promise and actually resign, and who want a Democrat to hold the seat, could then vote for Torricelli with a clear conscience.