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Supreme Court rules New Jersey can leave Waterfront Commission, breaking 70-year pact with New York. Here’s what it means

Gov. Phil Murphy said he was “thrilled” with the ruling that New Jersey can withdraw from the Waterfront Commission created decades ago with New York.

Lanette Espy and Lauren Due

Apr 19, 2023, 10:43 AM

Updated 456 days ago

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The Supreme Court ruled Tuesday that New Jersey can withdraw from the 1950s-era Waterfront Commission, ending a 70-year deal with New York. This means New Jersey will now be in charge of all state ports.
The Waterfront Commission of New York Harbor was a bistate police agency created to crack down on corruption. The agency was created in 1953 to go after the mob and corrupt labor practices at the New York-New Jersey container port. However, former workers and lawmakers say the commission is unfair. For many years, the push to leave has gotten bipartisan support.
"We were losing business because the Waterfront Commission was very heavy-handed, controlling operations of the port," said former state Sen. Ray Lesniak. "Now that the Waterfront Commission is going to be out of the way, we are going to have more than 90% of the business. We'll probably jump up to 95. Goodbye, New York."
New Jersey's exit has been five years in the making. Former Gov. Chris Christie signed a bill to pull out of the commission in 2018. Gov. Phil Murphy has been pushing for this as well.
Murphy said he was “thrilled” with the ruling and wrote in a tweet, “We look forward to working with New York to ensure its swift and orderly dissolution.”
Murphy wrote in a statement that over 90% of commerce at state ports happens on the New Jersey side. He added “New Jersey State Police is more than capable of taking on the Commission's law enforcement and regulatory responsibilities.”
New York Gov. Kathy Hochul says she is disappointed in the decision.


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