CHICAGO – Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan’s office said Wednesday it would not ask the U.S. Supreme Court to review the the Illinois Supreme Court’s voiding of the state’s 2013 pension reform legislation.
“We always thoroughly consider all of our legal options in every case,” said Madigan spokeswoman Eileen Boyce. “In the pension case, we asked the U.S. Supreme Court for a routine extension of time to allow us to consider whether to seek review of the case by that court. After completing our analysis, we have decided not to ask the Court to review the case.”
The state Supreme Court in May overturned legislation to overhaul four of the state's five pension funds, saying it violated the state constitution's pension clause protecting benefits against being diminished or impaired.
After the high court's May ruling, Madigan's office originally said it had no plan to appeal.
"The court has provided a definitive interpretation of the constitution that must now guide the legislature and the governor going forward," the office then said. The state then opted for more time as it reviewed a lower court decision voiding Chicago pension reform legislation.
The state could have asked the U.S. Supreme Court to decide whether the doctrine prevents a state from abdicating its police powers to in the face of contractual obligations and, if not, whether the state supreme court applied the correct standard, according to a state filing.
The court’s May decision has escalated pressure on Illinois leaders to resolve a budget impasse and figure out how to handle increasing contributions to the state's deeply underfunded pension plan.
Moody’s Investors Service dropped Chicago’s credit rating to a junk level saying the state Supreme Court ruling raised questions over the viability of city reforms aimed at tackling half of its $20 billion of unfunded liabilities. The high court’s ruling was later cited by a lower court judge who in July voided those city changes.