The Supreme Court ruled Tuesday that New Jersey can unilaterally withdraw from the longstanding Waterfront Commission Compact it has with New York to police corruption in the shipping industry in the major port the two states share.
All nine of the Supreme Court’s justices voted to dismiss arguments by New York in favor of forcing New Jersey to stay in the compact.
Justice Brett Kavanaugh wrote the nine-page majority opinion in the case, which is a victory for container shipping companies and the International Longshoreman’s Association, the union that represents dockworkers.
The ruling, which came after five years of litigation in federal district and appeals courts, hinged on the fact that the Waterfront Commission Compact does not explicitly bar either state from exiting the agreement.
New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy in a statement said he was “thrilled” by the unanimous ruling in his state’s favor, and that “New Jersey’s sovereign right to govern our ports has been vindicated.”
“Since the first hours of our time in office, my Administration has steadfastly pursued the dissolution of the Waterfront Commission because it was the right thing to do,” Murphy said.
New York Gov. Kathy Hochul and Attorney General Letitia James said in a statement: “We are disappointed by the Supreme Court’s decision to allow New Jersey to unilaterally withdraw from the Waterfront Commission.”
“For decades, the Waterfront Commission has been a vital law enforcement agency, protecting essential industries at the port and cracking down on organized crime,” Hochul and James said. “We will continue to do everything in our power to combat corruption and crime, protect the health of our economy, and ensure the safety of New Yorkers.”