New Jersey Libertarian Party

The Party of Principle

Help Wanted!

There are many towns throughout New Jersey that have invalid ordinances on their books. The NJLP Preempted Ordinance Project could use your help in getting these ordinances repealed.

Below are the steps for reviewing the ordinances and determining if they are unconstitutional. Below those steps is a form letter you can tailor and send to the towns with unconstitutional curfews.

Step 1 – Review the town ordinances.

Most town ordinances can be accessed here, here or here. You can generally search for the town by name and search for the ordinance by using the search term “curfew.”

Step 2 – Determine if the curfew is unconstitutional

Generally speaking, a curfew is unconstitutional if it covers the entire town and every day of the year, and has no provision for the teen to be out with parental consent. If the only allowances it contains are things like emergencies, going to/from a job, religious reasons et al, it is unconstitutional. If the curfew is limited to declared emergencies only, specific days (e.g., Halloween night and the night before), or a specific location, assume for purposes of this effort that it is constitutional.

Step 3 – Customize the letter at the end of this article

  • replace the Chapter number and link in the form letter with the actual hyperlink to the online curfew section of that town’s ordinance
  • replace the town name and address with the appropriate name and address
  • if the town is not a Township, replace “Township” with [Town, Borough, Village, or City] in all places in the letter as appropriate

Step 4 - Go to the website for the town and get the email address of the town’s Clerk. Email the letter to the town’s Clerk and ask that they send it to the Mayor, Council, and town’s Attorney. Copy the Preempted Ordinance repeal project at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Hopefully, we have made this as easy as possible for you. You can make a difference. Thanks for your help in advancing liberty.


Township Clerk,

Please see below the letter below. Could you please acknowledge receipt of this email, help ensure that the Mayor and Council are made aware of it and, if appropriate, forward to the Township Attorney. Thank you.

Sincerely,

[your name]
New Jersey Libertarian Party, Preempted Ordinance Repeal Project
[your address]

Hon. Mayor Robert D. White and members of the Saddle Brook Township Council
93 Market Street
Saddle Brook, NJ 07663

Via e-mail only

Dear Mayor White and Council members:

For the reasons that follow, I believe that Chapter 83A of Saddle Brook's Code, establishing a juvenile curfew, is unconstitutional and that a person against whom enforcement is sought may have a viable lawsuit against the Township.

Compare Chapter 83A to Wanaque Borough's juvenile curfew ordinance which is attached as Exhibit A to the April 10, 2013 civil complaint filed by the American Civil Liberties Union of New Jersey, which can be seen on-line here. Like Wanaque's, Saddle Brook's curfew ordinance does not contain an exception for cases where the minor has parental consent to be in public during curfew hours.

The brief filed by the ACLU, which is on-line here, gives several compelling reasons why that lack of such an exception makes Wanaque's curfew ordinance unconstitutional. According to an August 13, 2014 article in Suburban Trends, Wanaque has responded to the ACLU's lawsuit by introducing an ordinance repealing its curfew law in its entirety and by paying $55,000 in attorney fees to the ACLU."

Egg Harbor Township in Atlantic County repealed its curfew ordinance after being sued and paid $10,000 in attorney fees. The Atlantic County judge's preliminary decision in that case is on-line here.

Whether you are for or against juvenile curfews, I am sure that you will see the wisdom in keeping the Township out of a potentially costly lawsuit. I ask that you please ask the Township Attorney to provide a legal opinion regarding the curfew ordinance's constitutionality and discuss that opinion at your next work session meeting.

Thank you for your attention to this matter.

Very truly yours,

[your name]
New Jersey Libertarian Party, Preempted Ordinance Repeal Project
[your address]
[your phone number]
[your email address]

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