Starring Justice Lloyd A. Karmeier, Chief Justice Rita B. Garman, Justice Charles E. Freeman, Justice Robert R. Thomas, Justice Thomas L. Kilbride, Justice Anne M. Burke, and Justice Mary Jane Theis
The movie, one of my favorites as a young boy, takes on new symbolic meaning 55 years later. This time it’s about beating the odds against money, power and influence of legislative liars and thieves.
from the recent Illinois Supreme Court Ruling, May 8, 2015:
“…The General Assembly may not legislate on a subject withdrawn from its authority by the constitution (see Hunt v. Rosenbaum Grain Corp., 355 Ill. 504, 509 (1934); City of Chicago v. County of Cook, 370 Ill. 301, 306 (1938)), and it cannot rely on police powers to overcome this limitation. As we have already explained, there simply is no police power to disregard the express provisions of the constitution. It could not be otherwise, for if police powers could be invoked to nullify express constitutional rights and protections whenever the legislature (or other branches of government) felt that economic or other exigencies warranted, it is not merely pension benefits of public employees that would be in jeopardy.
“No rights or property would be safe from the State. Today it is nullification of the right to retirement benefits. Tomorrow it could be renunciation of the duty to repay State obligations. Eventually, investment capital could be seized. Under the State’s reasoning, the only limit on the police power would be the scope of the emergency. The legislature could do whatever it felt it needed to do under the circumstances. And more than that, through its funding decisions, it could create the very emergency conditions used to justify its suspension of the rights conferred and protected by the constitution. If financial markets were rational, this prospect would not buoy our economy, it would ruin it...
“The financial challenges facing state and local governments in Illinois are well known and significant. In ruling as we have today [May 8, 2015], we do not mean to minimize the gravity of the State’s problems or the magnitude of the difficulty facing our elected representatives. It is our obligation, however, just as it is theirs, to ensure that the law is followed. That is true at all times. It is especially important in times of crisis when, as this case demonstrates, even clear principles and long-standing precedent are threatened. Crisis is not an excuse to abandon the rule of law. It is a summons to defend it. How we respond is the measure of our commitment to the principles of justice we are sworn to uphold…” (The Illinois Supreme Court).