TRENTON - The New Jersey Supreme Court has delivered a victory to Gov. Chris Christie and ruled the state does not owe public pensioners cost-of-living payments suspended under a 2011 law.

The ruling Thursday effectively keeps the state from having its unfunded liability increased by about $17.5 billion.

The court heard oral arguments in March in the case that reaches back to a nearly five-year-old law passed by a Democrat-led Legislature and signed by Republican Gov. Chris Christie that suspended cost-of-living adjustments.

It's the latest case the court is deciding in a battle between the Christie administration and pensioners and unions. The court delivered the administration a victory last year by declining to require specific pension payments required under the same 2011 law.

A group of retired prosecutors brought the case. Public unions support their effort.