Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Illinois Pension Case May Not Be Done: Lisa Madigan Signals It Could Go To U.S. Supreme Court

Illinois may not be done with the 2013 law reducing state employees’ pensions after all. The Attorney General appears to be readying to appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court:


  1. Had the state’s politicians not siphoned off public pension assets (by not fully contributing to the systems for several decades), the five public pension systems would be nearly funded and would have withstood the financial crisis of 2008-09.

    Lisa Madigan, and other self-interested pension liars and thieves, insist on cutting pensions as their final solution, instead of considering more comprehensive, legal and ethical strategies for addressing the unfunded liabilities they had created.


    “Each prospective holder of a State office or other State position created by this Constitution, before taking office, shall take and subscribe to the following oath or affirmation: ‘I do solemnly swear (affirm) that I will support the Constitution of the United States, and the Constitution of the State of Illinois, and that I will faithfully discharge the duties of the office of…to the best of my ability’” (The Constitution of the State of Illinois, Article XIII—Oath or Affirmation of Office, Section 3).

  3. "John Fitzgerald, whose Chicago law firm Tabet DiVito & Rothstein represented retired teachers in the Illinois Supreme Court case, said the firm will oppose the cert petition: 'This case involves purely issues of Illinois law and presents no basis on which a certiorari petition could be granted. The Illinois Supreme Court's unanimous interpretation of the Illinois Constitution's Pension Protection Clause is conclusive'" (Crain's).

  4. According to John Fitzgerald: "This is entirely a matter of Illinois State Law. There is no basis for the U.S. Supreme Court to intervene."

    The Attorney General’s petition to the U.S. Supreme Court says the pension case "raises important questions" about states’ rights to use police powers to modify contracts, like public pensions.

    "The principal questions presented are (1) whether the reserved powers doctrine prevents a State from abdicating its police powers authority to modify its own contractual obligations in extreme circumstances that imperil the general welfare and (2) if not, whether the Illinois Supreme Court identified the correct standard by which the validity of a State’s exercise of its police power is judged."

  5. Let's not forget that Lisa is daddy's girl. The Speaker of the House Mike Madigan uses every weapon in his arsenal to strengthen his hold on the corruption called government in Illinois. His pension cutting bill was unanimously declared unconstitutional by the state Supreme Court.
    Will Madigan (Mike) use Madigan (Lisa) to lay siege to the billions of dollars in our pension funds? Of course. Hegemons are like that.

  6. "...The court granted a request from Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan to extend from Aug. 6 until Sept. 10 the deadline for asking the court to take up the matter, a legal step known as filing a writ of certiorari.

    "The request for more time was granted by Justice Elena Kagan, who reviews such requests from Illinois and other states in the federal 7th Circuit. Kagan did not indicate why she approved the application.

    "Madigan's office has insisted that its request for more time is routine and had almost no comment yesterday evening. A Madigan spokesman wouldn't even say whether the office was pleased that its request was approved or whether the high court action makes an eventual appeal more likely..." (Crain's, August 3, 2015).

  7. “...The General Assembly may find itself in crisis, but it is a crisis which other public pension systems managed to avoid and, as reflected in the SEC order, it is a crisis for which the General Assembly itself is largely responsible.

    “Moreover, no possible claim can be made that no less drastic measures were available when balancing pension obligations with other State expenditures became problematic. One alternative, identified at the hearing on Public Act 98-599, would have been to adopt a new schedule for amortizing the unfunded liabilities. The General Assembly could also have sought additional tax revenue. While it did pass a temporary income tax increase, it allowed the increased rate to lapse to a lower rate even as pension funding was being debated and litigated.

    “That the State did not select the least drastic means of addressing its financial difficulties is reinforced by the legislative history. As noted earlier in this opinion, the chief sponsor of the legislation stated candidly that other alternatives were available. Public Act 98-599 was in no sense a last resort. Rather, it was an expedient to break a political stalemate.

    “The United States Supreme Court has made clear that the United States Constitution ‘bar[s] Government from forcing some people alone to bear public burdens which, in all fairness and justice, should be borne by the public as a whole [citations].’ (Internal quotation marks omitted.) United States v. Winstar Corp., 518 U.S. 839, 883 (1996).

    “Through Public Act 98-599, however, the General Assembly addressed the financial challenges facing our State by doing just that. It made no effort to distribute the burdens evenly among Illinoisans. It did not even attempt to distribute the burdens evenly among those with whom it has contractual relationships..." (IL Supreme Court, May 8, 2015).