* Kim Geiger was at the lawmaker paycheck lawsuit hearing yesterday and filed this report…
After listening to arguments from both sides, [Cook County Judge Rodolfo Garcia] said lawmakers are “in control of their own future” and that court was not the proper place to solve the dispute.
“I think there are serious problems with the legislators coming here to make a claim,” Garcia said, noting that the problem could be solved “by simply passing a budget.”
Garcia said from the bench that he was granting a motion for summary judgment, a move to throw the case out of court. But he returned to the courtroom moments later to allow the lawmakers’ lawyer to advance a new argument based on a stopgap spending plan that was approved last June. Garcia then said he would hear additional arguments. The lawyers for the two sides agreed to return to court March 23. […]
The lawmakers’ lawyer had tried to argue that the comptroller was operating outside her authority by delaying the payments. The judge said the legislature had abdicated its authority by failing to enact a budget.
“To the extent that the legislature has avoided making the very hard decisions in passing a budget, it has delegated that sort of discretion to the comptroller,” Garcia said. “Someone’s got to make these decisions.”
I’m not sure that the judge has read the papers, beyond maybe the Tribune editorial page. And, heck, even that page recently blamed the governor for the lack of progress.
Also, subscribers know more about a specific legal argument made by the judge yesterday.