SPRINGFIELD: The Illinois Supreme Court has announced it will hear oral arguments in the state's landmark pension-overhaul case on March 11. Arguments will begin at 2:30 p.m. in the high court chamber in downtown Springfield (Associated Press).
January 22, 2015
January 21, 2015
SPRINGFIELD – “Lawyers contesting the Illinois law that overhauls a state pension program that is $111 billion in debt are asking the state Supreme Court for an extra month to file arguments. Attorneys for state employees, retired teachers and others who contest the constitutionality of the law say they need until March 16, WUIS-FM radio in Springfield reported.
“The high court agreed in December to fast-track the state's appeal of a lower-court ruling in November that the measure is unconstitutional… Attorney General Lisa Madigan argued earlier this month that in a crisis, state officials may use extraordinary powers not granted by the Constitution to fix a problem. Her position was accompanied by 10 friend-of-the-court briefs from the city of Chicago, social service agencies, public policy groups and Chicago employees such as police and schoolteachers.
“John Fitzgerald, a lawyer for retired teachers, says there are new arguments that need evaluation. ‘There are some new arguments and these briefs are somewhat voluminous, and so of course we need a reasonable amount of time to evaluate these briefs,’ he said. ‘Although we believe that the arguments raised ... need to be evaluated and responded to, we do not believe that any of those arguments have any merit…”’ (Associated Press).
The Honorable John Belz handed down his ruling today from the 7th Judicial Circuit Court stating that pension rights are constitutionally protected for retirees and public employees in Illinois.
"The reform law limits future raises in pension benefits, raises the retirement age and caps the salary on which pension benefits can be earned. It also reduces employee contributions by 1 percent of salary. Lawyers for public employee unions and retiree groups argue the pension protection clause means pension benefits for current workers and retirees cannot be changed, without exception.
Commentary on "Reserve Sovereign Powers"
Source for Quotations: (Fliter, John A. and Derek S. Hoff. Fighting Foreclosure: The Blaisdell Case, the Contract Clause, and the Great Depression. Kansas: the University Press of Kansas, 2012).