Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Celebrating a Victory Against Pension Liars and Thieves of the Illinois General Assembly Today

The photo was taken on May 8, 2016: one year after the Illinois Supreme Court Decision.

For the ruling click here.

To blame public employees is an attempt to further suppress any knowledge of the cause-and-effect relationship between a State’s budget deficit and the State pension systems.  To hold teachers and other State employees responsible for the financial mess is reprehensible and alarming, especially since full payments to the public pension systems were never made by legislators. It does not take long to realize how dubious and perilous some ploys are and how indefensible and unethical they might be.  

To change public employees' constitutionally-guaranteed pension with the passage of a law that mitigates certain benefits and to deprive public employees' rights to bargain is an encroachment of their right to human dignity and justice.  It is a calculated infringement of contractual principles. Those legislators who knowingly create and pass such a law supported by fabricated causality violate their oath of office.

The significant issue of pension reform is its attack on public employees’ rights to constitutionally-guaranteed, earned compensation and the legislators’ obligation to safeguard those promises. An unconscionable constitutional challenge of those rights and earned benefits generates a serious threat to their secure sense of worth as citizens and creates the unfair possibility for an economic disadvantage for a particular group of people and their families. This can never be legally or morally justified.

Because the foundation of citizens’ rights is the State and U.S. Constitutions, I believe that state contracts are protected; that the fifth and fourteenth amendments of the United States Constitution protect due process of law, and that Article XIII, Section 5 of the Constitution of the State of Illinois also protects public employees' and retirees' pensions.  I believe the legal basis for protection of past-and-future public pension benefits and rights are established in both constitutions unless, of course, they are foolishly traded away through consideration or modification of contract principles.

I wrote many times in this blog that a constitutional contract between the State of Illinois and its public employees must be viewed as a legal, moral commitment and requirement of justice, that justice demands we keep our covenants with one another, and keeping an agreement means a concern to promote the well-being of public employees and retirees and to secure their rights and benefits without any devaluation of the agreement.

The Illinois General Assembly does not possess "reserved sovereign powers" to diminish a constitutionally-protected pension. The state's chronic underfunding of its public pension systems for decades cannot warrant the impairment or diminishment of public employees' pension benefits and rights.

We cannot mistake the meaning of words such as “shall be an enforceable contractual relationship, the benefits of which shall not be diminished or impaired” because we understand and speak the English language. If words in our State Constitution are to refer or mean anything, they must be commonly understood and accepted as they have been for decades. Moreover, if words are to refer to anything, they must also be understood through their use, role, employment and past agreements.

We know corrupt legislators will pass laws for their own advantage. We should recall that despite their pledges, the legislators’ criteria for justice are their considerations for what is expedient for them—their re-elections to remain in power and wealth. We must never become complacent in our belief that justice exists for those who simply “fight the good fight”; nor should we become indifferent to political power and what exorbitant wealth can buy.

It is evident that Illinois legislators will continue to dispute one of the Bill of Rights contained in both the Illinois and U.S. Constitutions instead of addressing the real causes of the state's budget deficits: the pension ramp, the resultant pension debt, and the state’s insufficient flow of revenue.

What these legislators should be doing is reexamining the concept of justice and what lawfulness demands: that people must keep their covenants with one another. No justice is accomplished when diminishing public employees' constitutionally-guaranteed benefits and rights. What needs to be diminished, however, is the continuation of legislators' irresponsibility, corruption, and incompetence.

Any modifications of the Pension Protection Clause by the Illinois General Assembly should be seen for what it is: an accommodation for “only” the General Assembly who have stolen money from the public pension systems for decades and are, thus, avoiding a pre-existing duty rule.

Most Illinois citizens (who have read this blog) recognize the incessant schemes of the Civic Federation, Civic Committee, Illinois Policy Institute, and their minions in the Illinois General Assembly (and governor) that blame public employees and retirees for the chronic Illinois budget crisis.

Most Illinois citizens (who have read this blog) also recognize that some politicians, who lack moral sensibility and legal understanding, have no qualms about stealing money from the public pension funds and ignoring the Illinois Supreme Court’s ruling against any form of unconstitutional public pension theft.

1 comment:

  1. I reread Doris Heaton et al., Appellees v. Pat Quinn, State of Illinois, et al., Appellants (filed on May 8, 2015) once again today.

    “Justice Karmeier delivered the judgment of the court, with opinion. Chief Justice Garman and Justices Freeman, Thomas, Kilbride, Burke, and Theis concurred in the judgment and opinion.”

    Paragraphs 1-41 presented the “Opinion.”

    It was declared that the State of Illinois (Illinois General Assembly) violated Article XIII, Section 5: The Pension Protection Clause; Article 1, Section 2: Due Process and Equal Protection Laws (Judges were not included); Article 1, Section 15: Right of Eminent Domain (The Takings Clause) and Article 1, Section 16: Ex Post Facto and Contract Clause of the Constitution of the State of Illinois.

    Paragraphs 42-50 presented an analysis of whether Public Act 98-599 violated the Pension Protection Clause. Eighteen court cases were used to substantiate the argument.

    Paragraphs 51-89 presented an analysis of the so-called “Reserved Sovereign Powers of the State of Illinois.” Thirty court cases were used for the rebuttal.

    Paragraphs 90-96 presented an argument against "Severability." Three court cases were used for the refutation.

    It is an outstanding document!