Arguments in Illinois Pension Lawsuit Begin Wednesday


It’s been nearly 15 months since Illinois’ pension overhaul was passed, and 13 months since the first lawsuits began rolling in.

Now, the state and its public workers are finally squaring off in the halls of the state Supreme Court.

Arguments over the constitutionality of the law, SB-1, begin on Wednesday.

From the Chicago Tribune:

More than a year of legal wrangling over Illinois’ attempt to curb benefits in the nation’s most underfunded pension system will come down to 50 minutes of courtroom debate Wednesday…

Lawyers for public workers and retirees argue the law violates what’s known as the “pension protection clause” of the Illinois Constitution, which holds that public pensions are a “contractual” benefit and cannot “be diminished or impaired.”

But lawyers for the state argue that the government’s emergency police powers — in this case the ability to fund necessary government services — trump the constitution’s pension guarantees.

The arguments are scheduled to begin at 2:30 pm.

Audio and video of the arguments will be available in the coming days, and can be found here.

Video: Lawmaker Behind Illinois Pension Reform on Why the Law is Constitutional

Here’s an interview with Illinois State Rep. Elaine Nekritz, one of the lawmakers who designed the state’s controversial pension reform law, known as SB 1.

Unions and state employees are suing Illinois over the implementation of the law, arguing that the law is unconstitutional for its paring back of benefits.

In this interview, Rep. Nekritz makes her argument for why the law should be considered constitutional.


Feature photo by  Mr.TinDC via Flickr CC License