Constitutionality of the IL pension reform efforts

Wednesday, April 03, 2013

John D. Colombo, the Albert E. Jenner, Jr. Professor of Law, and Laurie Reynolds, the Prentice H. Marshall Professor of Law, weigh in on the constitutionality of the pension reform efforts under consideration in the Illinois Legislature. 

“Whether [the Nekritz-Biss-Cross] bill is constitutional depends on how the Illinois courts interpret the constitutional language. … There are two possibilities. The first is [if these are] … the terms of a “contract” between the employees and the state, then the state cannot change the terms of that contract unilaterally in a manner that “reduces or impairs” the promised benefit. … The other interpretive path is that no provision of any constitution is absolute, no matter how absolute its language.”

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