Supreme Court Won’t Intervene in New Jersey’s Move to Leave Port Watchdog

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Decision advances New Jersey’s bid to withdraw from New York Harbor’s Waterfront Commission

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New York Harbor’s Waterfront Commission has opposed New Jersey’s efforts to withdraw from the agency, which was created nearly 70 years ago to police organized crime and fair recruitment at the Port of New York and New Jersey. The commission petitioned the Supreme Court last year after a federal appellate court ruled that it could not sue New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy over a 2018 law that aimed to withhold the state from the agency.

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The Justice Department filed a brief with the Supreme Court last month discouraging it from taking up the case. The court’s rejection of that petition would not preclude further judicial review of New Jersey’s efforts to withdraw from the agency, including possible legal action by the state of New York, in a nutshell,

The Waterfront Commission declined to comment on Monday.

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“We are reviewing all options,” said Kathy Hochul, a spokeswoman for New York Gov.

A spokesman said Mr. Murphy is pleased with the Supreme Court’s decision. “The commission has long fulfilled its original mission and, today, only stands as an impediment to hiring and operations at our ports,” the spokesperson said. “We look forward to an orderly transition from the commission to the New Jersey State Police,” which the state says should have the responsibility of surveillance.

The two governorates share control of the port through the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. The bistate authority has grown into a transportation juggernaut over the past century, owning three of the region’s major airports, six toll bridges and tunnels, and a 16-acre World Trade Center site in lower Manhattan.

The Waterfront Commission is independent of the Port Authority. New Jersey states in court papers that the impact of organized crime has been outweighed by the port and that state police should supervise the docks because much of the commerce under the agency’s supervision takes place in New Jersey.

The commission has said that New Jersey cannot unilaterally back down from the compact and that the agency’s role is critical to rooting out criminal activity and unfair recruitment practices on the waterfront. The agency sued Murphy over the law, and in 2019 a federal judge in Newark, NJ blocked the state’s withdrawal, but a federal appeals court later ruled that New Jersey’s sovereign immunity preceded the governor’s suit. saved from

Jennifer Smith at [email protected] and Paul Berger at [email protected]

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