Complaint Filed in North Dakota Supreme Court to Allow Recall of U.S. Senator Kent Conrad
On July 14, North Dakota joined New Jersey in an effort to recall a U.S. Senator.
RecallND filed a complaint with the North Dakota Supreme Court claiming that the state’s Secretary of State has unconstitutionally blocked a petition to recall U.S. Senator Kent Conrad (D-ND).
The complaint indicates that on May 13 North Dakota Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem published an opinion concluding that the North Dakota State Constitution does not allow for the recall of a U.S. Senator. On the same day, the office of the North Dakota Secretary of State claimed to have no authority to approve the circulation of RecallND’s recall petition.
Section 10 of Article III in the North Dakota constitution states,
“Any elected official of the state, of any county or of any legislative or county commissioner district shall be subject to recall by petition of electors equal in number to twenty-five percent of those who voted at the preceding general election for the office of governor in the state, county, or district in which the official is to be recalled.”
RecallND, a not for profit citizens organization, claims that both the ND constitution and its legislative history “permits the recall of the state’s representatives in the United States Congress, as indicated by the plain meaning of the language.” The organization says in its complaint that the U.S. Constitution “does not preclude the recall of United States senators by the electorate of their respective states.” RecallND is requesting the North Dakota Supreme Court order the Secretary of State to approve the organization’s application for petition to recall Conrad.
RecallND is the second recall effort to reach a state Supreme Court. The New Jersey Supreme Court heard arguments in the effort to recall Senator Robert Menendez on May 25 and has yet to render a decision. The lower court ruled unanimously in favor of allowing the Menendez recall petition to go forward.