Court Rejects Request To Delay Pension Case

Jan 22, 2015

It took legislators - here, meeting in a conference committee - years to reach a compromise on a pension overhaul; the law they finally passed is facing a constitutional challenge.
Credit Amanda Vinicky

The fate of Illinois' pension law will stay on the fast track. Illinois' Supreme Court justices today rejected a request for a delay.

It can take a long time for a case to wend its way through the courts. But after a Sangamon County judge in November ruled Illinois' overhaul of public worker pensions unconstitutional, the state Supreme Court agreed to take up the case on an expedited basis.

On Tuesday, lawyers contesting the law tried to slow it down by a month.

Those lawyers (who represent retirees, state, university and public school employees and unions) said they needed more time to respond to the hundreds of pages of arguments in support of the law filed earlier this month not only by the attorney general, but also by ten other organizations, including the city of Chicago and the Civic Federation.

The Supreme Court wasted no time in its response. Justices denied the request. Lawyers will have to submit paperwork arguing why it's unconstitutional for the state to reduce workers' pensions by Feb. 16.

But the court also said that those lawyers don't have worry about the arguments submitted by those other groups. The court rejected their briefs, and says it will only consider Attorney General Lisa Madigan's. She argues Illinois can use "police powers" to get around the Constitution and cut retirement benefits.