The Supreme Court accepted New York’s motion to put a temporary halt to New Jersey’s plan to withdraw, but has not agreed to hear the case. (Photo by Al Drago/Getty Images)
The U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday temporarily barred New Jersey from unilaterally exiting a bistate compact with New York, ensuring the Garden State will remain part of the Waterfront Commission of New York Harbor for now.
New Jersey had planned to withdraw on March 28 from the commission, a 69-year-old agency with law enforcement powers on both sides of the Hudson created to push organized crime out of the states’ ports.
New Jersey lawmakers have sought to extricate the state from the compact and return law enforcement powers it grants the commission to the New Jersey State Police. New Jersey alleges the commission has outgrown its usefulness and should be abandoned.
New York has warned New Jersey’s withdrawal would lead to an influx of criminal activity in ports on the New York and New Jersey sides of the harbor.
Though the high court has barred New Jersey’s unilateral withdrawal, that prohibition doesn’t necessarily spell doom for the Garden State’s plan to pull out of the commission.
The Supreme Court accepted New York’s motion to put a temporary halt to New Jersey’s plan to withdraw, but it has not agreed to hear the case. If it does, a final ruling could take months or even years.
New Jersey passed a law in 2018 calling for the state to withdraw from the commission, but it was barred from doing so under a separate injunction that lapsed in November 2021. New York asked the Supreme Court to intervene earlier this month.
New York has claimed New Jersey lacks the authority to withdraw from the commission unilaterally, noting the compact includes no provisions to enable a one-sided termination. New Jersey argues the compact does not bar the same.
GET THE MORNING HEADLINES DELIVERED TO YOUR INBOX
Our stories may be republished online or in print under Creative Commons license CC BY-NC-ND 4.0. We ask that you edit only for style or to shorten, provide proper attribution and link to our web site. Please see our republishing guidelines for use of photos and graphics. Please see our republishing guidelines for use of photos and graphics.