After criticizing Democratic arguments as so much hot air (my characterization, not his), Kaimi Wenger concludes that
fuzzy logic of its decision aside, the New Jersey Supreme Court got the outcome right. Lautenberg should replace the burned-out Torch on the ballot.
…It is an accepted maxim of statutory interpretation that where a statute will give an absurd result, it may be appropriate to construe the statute so as to give a reasonable result. Hart and Sacks have famously written that laws ought to be interpreted as if written by “reasonable persons pursuing reasonable purposes reasonably.”
Good point. But I can see two responses: 1) Not switching names would not be “absurd,” since a) political parties do not have a right to have their newly preferred candidates’ names appear after a reasonable deadline has expired; and 2) “Interpretation” usually comes into play when a passage is ambiguous or unclear. No replacement closer than 51 days to an election is neither. At some point “interpretation” stops and rewriting begins; Democrats, or at least their more theoretically inclined liberal defenders, seem to see few limits on the sway of “interpretation.” If there are any limits, their behavior seems to suggest, they lay just over the horizon from where anybody ever is.