04/07/2010 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Tea Party Wants To Recall Bob Menendez Over Health Care, Big Government

AP -- A coalition of conservative activists known as the Tea Party movement want to thrown Sen. Robert Menendez out of office, but a look at judicial precedent shows they face an uphill battle.

New Jersey is one of 18 states that allow voters to recall statewide elected officials. A week after then-Gov. Christie Whitman signed the 1995 law, a U.S. Supreme Court decision softened it.

Writing for the majority, Justice John Paul Stevens said at the time that a state cannot meddle with provisions of the U.S. Constitution detailing how congressional members are qualified and selected.

Frank Askin of the Rutgers Constitutional Litigation Clinic said he can't recall a case that tested the Supreme Court decision. There is no right to recall congressmen or senators under the U.S. Constitution, experts said.

Tea Party members are suing in New Jersey Superior Court, asking to be allowed to start collecting the 1.3 million voter signatures they need to get a recall on the ballot. Oral arguments are set for Feb. 26.

The Sussex County group takes issue with support by Menendez, a Democrat, of health care reform and his opposition to limiting government's control.

Their lawyer, Dan Silberstein, said the group went to court after the secretary of state failed to certify its petition.

The secretary of state's office referred questions to the attorney general, which didn't respond to a call seeking comment.