Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Carl Lewis case going back to court

The Third Circuit Court in Philadelphia has agreed to give New Jersey Republicans' one more chance to argue Olympic track-and-field star Carl Lewis off the November ballot for state Senate.

Carl Lewis case going back to court

The Third Circuit Court in Philadelphia has agreed to give New Jersey Republicans’ one more chance to argue Olympic track-and-field star Carl Lewis off the November ballot for state Senate.

The entire federal appeals panel will hear an appeal Tuesday. Each side will have 15 minutes to present its case.

A three-judge panel from the court last week put Democrat Lewis back on the Nov. 8 ballot. His opponent in the Eighth Legislative District race is incumbent Republican Sen. Dawn Addiego.

“We are pleased that the court has decided to vacate their original decision and give this matter the additional scrutiny it deserves,” said Republican spokesman Chris Russell.

At issue is whether Democrat Lewis meets the state constitution’s four-year residency requirement for state Senate candidates.

Lewis’ lawyers argue that the rule itself violates his right to equal protection of the law.

Lawyers for the state and Burlington County Republicans dismiss that, saying he has the right to run for the state Senate — just not in this election.

Lewis, 50, grew up in Willingboro, went to college in Texas, and settled in California. He bought homes in South Jersey in 2005 and 2007 and volunteered at his old high school in 2007. But he voted in California as recently as 2009.

Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno, who also acts as secretary of state, took Lewis off the ballot in the spring. State courts and a U.S. District judge have sided with Guadagno and the Burlington County Republicans who intervened in the case.

But the Third Circuit panel has twice ruled that Lewis belongs on the ballot.

The Associated Press contributed to this article.

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