A federal judge has turned back New Jersey’s attempt to help plug its budget gap by grabbing $79.5 million in unused gift card funds, finding merit in challengers’ arguments that the law is on shaky constitutional ground.

District Judge Freda Wolfson in Trenton issued a preliminary injunction against enforcement of two parts of the state’s revised Unclaimed Property Act, which merchants and trade groups say is pre-empted by federal law and violates the Constitution’s taking, commerce, contract and due process clauses.

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