Multiple New Jersey public sector unions have petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court to review a recent state judicial ruling that allowed Gov. Chris Christie to cut pension funding.
The labor unions appealed to the nation's highest court on Sept. 8 seeking a review of whether there was failure to enforce Article I, Section 10 of the U.S. Constitution when the June 8 decision said the state's legislative and executive branches lacked the authority to form a binding contract. The 5-2 New Jersey Supreme Court ruling reversed a lower court decision and upheld Christie's veto of $1.57 billion in pension contributions from the 2015 budget.
Petitioners in the appeal include the New Jersey Education Association (NJEA), the Communication Workers of America, the State New Jersey AFL-CIO and the New Jersey State Policemen's Benevolent Association. Union leaders have argued that a 2011 law signed by the Republican governor implementing a scheduled ramp-up of the state's pension funding over seven years created a contractual right to the funding.
"We have asked the United States Supreme Court to review this matter because we believe the New Jersey Supreme Court's ruling was in error," said NJEA President Wendell Steinhauer in a statement. "We believe the contractual rights of our members have been violated by the state's failures with regard to pension funding. We will pursue every avenue to protect and enforce those rights, and to ensure that the state meets its obligations to our members."
The NJEA said there is no timeline yet for when U.S. Supreme Court will decide whether to take up the case.
A spokesman for Gov. Christie referred comments on the appeal to the State Attorney General's office, which could not be immediately reached.