* Judge John Belz, who’s presiding over the pension law case, held a status hearing yesterday…
Lawyers challenging last year’s pension reform law said they will make another attempt to get an expedited ruling in the case in the wake of the Illinois Supreme Court’s decision in the retiree health insurance case.
Lawyers said they believe the ruling in the health insurance case — called the Kanerva decision after one of the plaintiffs — effectively nullifies the state’s argument that Illinois’ severe financial problems allow pensions to be changed, despite the pension protection clause of the state Constitution.
At a hearing Tuesday, the lawyers said they will be filing new motions that will bring the issue before Sangamon County Circuit Judge John Belz.
“In the health care (case) and in this case, the change in pension is clearly a diminishment and impairment protected by the Constitution,” said Don Craven, who brought one of the five lawsuits challenging the pension reform law.
Before the Kanerva decision, Judge Belz’s proceedings looked like they could drag on for months and months. The only thing really left unsettled by Kanerva is the police powers argument. And even that was undermined…
In light of the constitutional debates, we have concluded that the provision was aimed at protecting the right to receive the promised retirement benefits, not the adequacy of the funding to pay for them.