TRENTON - New Jersey's highest court has tough questions for a lawyer who says Gov. Chris Christie's cuts to public school subsidies is unconstitutional.

The talks bring the 1985 Abbott decision back into the spotlight. For more than two decades, the state Supreme Court has repeatedly forced the state to increase spending for New Jersey's poorest schools.

But in arguments Wednesday, justices grilled David Sciarra, a lawyer representing children in those low-income districts.

He was back before the court after Christie's administration cut funds to schools by nearly $1 billion for the current school year.

Several justices asked Sciarra whether the state should ignore economic realities or harm other government functions in order to fund schools better.

The state says it had to cut funding for schools amid a financial crisis.

AP wire services contributed to this report.