Updated: April 24, 2014 10:02AM
Judges are not included in the pension reform law. When asked on the House floor why judges were excluded from the bill, Speaker Michael Madigan said the “intent was to eliminate the possibility of a judicial conflict during the adjudication of this matter through the court system.”
Madigan’s response is nonsense. As a lawyer, he knows better.
Though infrequent, judges do decide cases where there is a “conflict of interest” — especially those involving laws that affect state officers (including judges), employees and retirees as a class — because somebody must decide the case. This legal principle is the “Rule of Necessity.”
Unfortunately, Madigan’s remark also gives the appearance of a legislative bribe to judges to uphold the law’s constitutionality and creates an issue of equal protection regarding the reform law’s applicability to four, rather than all five, of the state’s pension systems.
Interestingly, if the Illinois Supreme Court upholds the law, will the Legislature amend it to include judges?
Dennis M. Dohm
Retired Cook County judge