Sunday, May 15, 2011

Legal, Social, and Economic Justice

HOUSE RESOLUTION 0468                                       
 LRB096 13063 AJO 27628 r

“WHEREAS, During these turbulent and difficult economic times, it is more important than ever that the concept of social justice, the view that every member of our society is deserving of equal economic, political, and social rights and opportunities, be given the highest priority by elected State officials; and

WHEREAS, Assuring social justice is a key element of the
Illinois Constitution as shown by the Preamble which states, in part, that "We, the People of the State of Illinois ... in order to provide for the health, safety and welfare of the people; maintain a representative and orderly government; eliminate poverty and inequality; assure legal, social and economic justice; provide opportunity for the fullest development of the individual; ... - do ordain and establish this Constitution for the State of Illinois…

WHEREAS, Recognizing that when justice is achieved in every aspect of society, rather than merely in the administration of law, individuals and groups will be afforded fair treatment and an impartial share of the benefits of society…

RESOLVED, BY THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES OF THE NINETY-SIXTH GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, that the House, as a body, will endeavor to give a high priority to social justice and allow that important principle to direct our choices in matters both large and small and guide our decisions in matters temporary or permanent; and be it further

RESOLVED, That suitable copies of this resolution be delivered to each member of the House so that it may serve as a tangible reminder of the commitment each member has to this noble priority.”

“Legal, Social, and Economic Justice”

Article XIII, Section 5 of the Constitution of the State of Illinois: “Membership in any pension or retirement system of the state or any local government, or any agency or instrumentality of either, shall be an enforceable, contractual relationship, the benefits of which shall not be diminished or impaired”
“The Pension Clause serves as a bar against any unilateral legislative or governmental action to reduce or eliminate the pension benefit rights in place when an employee [becomes] a member of the pension system” (Eric M. Madiar, Chief Legal Counsel to Illinois Senate President John J. Cullerton and Parliamentarian of the Illinois Senate, 21, “Is Welching On Public Pension Promises An Option For Illinois? An Analysis of Article XIII, Section 5 of the Illinois Constitution.” The Great Pension Debate: A detailed analysis of the Illinois Constitution’s pension clause.  04 March 2011).  
The conclusion of the Illinois Appellate court case, Kraus v. Board of Trustees of the Police Pension Fund of the Village of Niles, 1979: pension benefits begin at the time an employee begins his or her contributions to the pension; pension benefit rights are contractual, and the General Assembly cannot modify those rights and benefits (28-32).
The conclusion of the Illinois Supreme Court case, Felt v. Board of Trustees of the Judges Retirement System, 1985: “the Clause safeguards the pension benefit rights contained in the Pension Code when a public employee begins contributing to the pension system whether or not the employee is eligible to retire” (36).
No ex post facto law, or law impairing the obligation of contracts or making an irrevocable grant of special privileges or immunities, shall be passed (Article I, The Constitution of the State of Illinois).

SECTION 10 (Article I, The Constitution of the United States of America)
No State shall… pass any Law impairing the Obligation of Contracts…

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