A federal judge said he would rule within a week on a lawsuit that claims New Jersey voters should be able to choose Gov. James E. McGreevey's interim replacement in a special election in November. U.S. district judge Garret E. Brown Jr. heard arguments Wednesday in the suit, filed by two Princeton lawyers who contend that McGreevey essentially vacated his office when he announced on August 12 that he is gay, acknowledged he had an extramarital affair with a man, and that he intended to resign on November 15. By staying in office until it is not possible to hold a special election, he is depriving voters of their constitutional rights, lawyers Bruce Afran and Carl Mayer said.
Lawyers for the state argued that McGreevey has not officially resigned because he hasn't submitted a letter of resignation. They also argued that the issue is a state matter and should be determined in the state court system. Brown said he would rule on Tuesday or Wednesday of next week. Under state law, if McGreevey had left office before September 3, a special election would have been called for this November 2. Because he stayed in office past the September 3 deadline, McGreevey will be replaced in November by senate president Richard J. Codey (D-Essex), who will serve as acting governor until the term expires in January 2006.