The New Jersey Attorney General's office is no longer seeking to legally stop a Tea Party-backed effort to recall Democratic Sen. Bob Menendez -- a move that the Tea Partiers are taking as an endorsement of their views.
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Back in March, an appeals court declined to block efforts by a group called Recall NJ to gather signatures to recall Menendez, but simultaneously stayed its own ruling pending appeal by Menendez and/or the state, both of which had argued that a recall was unconstitutional. (The group needed certification from the Secretary of State in order to even begin gathering signatures.) The court did not specifically rule on the constitutional of a federal recall, but instead said that this issue would not have to be tested at all if the group could not gather the required 1.3 million signatures statewide -- which is nearly as many people as voted for John McCain in New Jersey in 2008.
State Attorney General Paula T. Dow, a Democrat appointed by Republican Gov. Chris Christie, noted that position in a letter to the state Supreme Court late last week. "While the State's position on federal constitutionality remains the same, as articulated in the brief filed below," Dow writes, "it is mindful that the Appellate Division correctly pointed out that a condition precedent to any recall election - obtaining the signatures of approximately 1.3 million registered voters within 320 days - may never come to pass." Dow later added: "The State will not seek to overturn this exercise of judicial prudence and restraint."