Blue Law ControversyPosted on Nov 10, 2012 in Featured, Portfolio | 2 comments
In the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, Governor Chris Christie suspended New Jersey’s Blue Law (NJSA 40A:64-1) which prohibited the sale of clothing and wearing apparel, furniture, home furnishings, household appliances, and building and lumber supply materials. Blue Laws have been controversial for years but have generally been upheld as constitutional although fewer counties and local towns are enforcing the law. Governor Christie’s executive order states that the suspension of the Blue Law as it relates to Bergen County was initiated at the request of the Bergen County Executive Kathleen Donovan.
Paramus Mayor Richard LaBarbiera however took issue with the Executive Order and announced that only stores selling essential items would be allowed to open on Sunday in the Borough of Paramus. Governor Christie however stated publicly that all stores could open on Sunday under his executive order. Bergen County Executive Kathleen Donovan faced with the conflicting interpretations filed a Complaint in the Superior Court of New Jersey in Hackensack, NJ seeking the court’s clarification of who could open on Sunday under the executive order.
Honorable Judge Menelaos Toskos ruled that the Governor’s Executive Order allowed all stores to open on Sunday. Judge Toskos in issuing his ruling went out of his way to indicate that his ruling did not render any judgment on the validity of Blue Laws but only dealt with the narrow issue of whether or not the Governor’s Executive Order allowed all stores to open on Sunday in Bergen County. Blue Laws have long been challenged by retailers including New Jersey based retailers.
One of the leading United States Supreme Court cases dealing with the validity of Blue Laws was filed by a New Jersey retailer, Two Guys from Harrison, who sought to open on Sunday in one of its stores in Pennsylvania over fifty years ago in the matter of Two Guys from Allentown v. McGinley, 366 US 582 (1961) The very informative Oral Argument in the Two Guys case is available below. Governor Christie’s suspension of the Blue Laws brought about by Hurricane Sandy’s devastation has highlighted the controversial nature of a law that forces the closure of retail stores on Sunday:
If you have an Opinion on whether the Blue Law should be repealed, leave your Comment below: