PHILADELPHIA (Reuters) - New Jersey's Supreme Court on Thursday rejected a bid to recall Senator Robert Menendez, ruling that state law does not allow the removal of a sitting federal representative outside of scheduled elections.
"The court finds that ... the federal Constitution does not allow states the power to recall U.S. Senators," Chief Justice Stuart Rabner wrote in a majority 4-2 opinion.
The Committee to Recall Robert Menendez, a group linked to the conservative Tea Party movement, wanted to recall the Democratic Senator because of his support for policies including healthcare and immigration reform and cap-and-trade legislation to limit greenhouse gas emissions.
The committee sought permission from New Jersey's secretary of state to hold a popular vote on the recall effort. Their recall bid was earlier upheld by an appeals court but has now been reversed by the state's highest court.
The court's decision has been awaited by conservative activists seeking recall initiatives against elected members of the U.S. Congress in other states including Louisiana, North Dakota, and Colorado.
(Reporting by Jon Hurdle, editing by Michelle Nichols and David Storey)