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6-9-15 Court Pension Decision Released This Morning

Star Ledger - N.J. Supreme Court sides with Christie in billion dollar pension dispute

Print Email By Samantha Marcus | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com The Star-Ledger
Email the author | Follow on Twitter on June 09, 2015 at 10:07 AM, updated June 09, 2015 at 10:31 AM

TRENTON The state Supreme Court ruled on Tuesday that Gov. Chris Christie can slash billions of dollars in contributions from New Jersey's troubled public employee pension system.

The court's ruling caps an intense fight for pension funding and deals a major blow to the state's labor unions, who challenged Christie's spending cuts. Christie had sought to dismantle the pension law.

Judges split 5-2 reversing the lower court's ruling that ordered Christie to work with the Legislature to comply with the law.

"That the State must get its financial house in order is plain. The need is compelling in respect of the State's ability to honor its compensation commitment to retired employees," the court said. "But this court cannot resolve that need in place of the political branches. They will have to deal with one another to forge a solution to the tenuous financial status of New Jersey's pension funding in a way that comports with the strictures of our constitution."

Tuesday's much-anticipated ruling spares Christie from trying to scrape together $1.57 billion before the end of the current fiscal year in three weeks and billions more in future budgets.

Christie is in New Hampshire ahead of a widely expected run for president.

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Samantha Marcus may be reached at smarcus@njadvancemedia.com . Follow her on Twitter @samanthamarcus. Find NJ.com Politics on Facebook.