* From the unanimous 2004 Illinois Supreme court opinion Jorgensen v. Blagojevich…
In reaching this result, we acknowledge that substantial budgetary challenges currently confront the Governor and the General Assembly. The adverse economic conditions facing so many of our fellow citizens have taken an inevitable toll on the state’s treasury. Revenues are not keeping pace. Despite ongoing efforts by the Governor and legislature, shortfalls persist. […]
One thing we cannot do, however, is ignore the Constitution of Illinois. […]
No principle of law permits us to suspend constitutional requirements for economic reasons, no matter how compelling those reasons may seem.
The Court would have to completely reverse that reasoning to come to the conclusion that Illinois’ finances are so bad right now that the Constitution’s plain language on pensions must be ignored.
Stranger things have happened, but the Court reasoned itself into an extremely tight corner with that opinion.
* And this is from Senate Democratic chief legal counsel Eric Madiar’s analysis of the Constitutional Convention floor debate…
Delegate Kinney stated that the word “enforceable” was “meant to provide that the rights established shall be subject to judicial proceedings and can be enforced through court action.”
The word “impaired,” she stated, was “meant to imply and to intend that if a pension fund would be on the verge of default or imminent bankruptcy, a group action could be taken to show that these rights should be preserved.”