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Court Overturns Newark City Council Appointment That Sparked Melee

Newark City Council Ruling

A judge in Newark ruled Tuesday that Mayor Cory Booker did not have the authority to cast a vote to fill a vacant City Council seat. (Credit: CBS 2)

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NEWARK, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — A judge on Tuesday ruled that Newark Mayor Cory Booker did not have the authority to cast a vote to fill a vacant City Council seat last month.

There were cheers in the courtroom as the decision came down in favor of four council members who challenged Booker.

They argued the mayor’s vote to appoint Shanique Davis Speight to the council was illegal. Her appointment last month caused a melee during a council meeting.

Speight was appointed to take over the seat vacated by Councilman Donald Payne Jr., who was elected to the House of Representatives earlier this month.

Speight could be seen falling when union leader Rahman Muhammad and others rushed the stage as she was set to be sworn in late last month. Speight was ushered out and eventually sworn in by the City Clerk.

But the four council members, namely Councilman Ronald Rice, Councilwoman-At-Large Mildred Crump, Councilman Darrin Sharif and Councilman Ras Baraka, claimed the mayor intentionally deceived them to get his own person appointed.

Crump called the ruling Tuesday a victory.

“The people have prevailed on today,” she said. “All of Cory Booker’s money couldn’t buy him a victory he did not deserve.”

The seat will remain open until a general election in November.

The attorney representing Booker had no comment Tuesday.

Do you think Speight should have been allowed to keep her seat? Please leave your comments below…