“Pension Legislation is Unconstitutional”

On March 11, 2015, TDR Founding Partner Gino DiVito argued before the Illinois Supreme Court in Heaton v. Quinn, a landmark case in which the Court will decide whether pension reduction legislation enacted in 2013 is unconstitutional.  TDR, representing retired teachers and both active and retired school administrators in the pension litigation, argued that the 2013 law that cuts pension benefits violates the State’s constitution.

The Chicago Daily Law Bulletin summarized DiVito’s arguments as “the pension clause is so clear and unambiguous that all the constitutional convention voter’s guide had to say was that it was ‘new and self-explanatory.’ Drafters of the constitution wanted to not only create a legally enforceable contractual relationship for every public employee who receives a pension but also to ensure that the pension rights were guaranteed, which created the very language at issue.”

Further, according to the Chicago Tribune and the Daily Herald, DiVito stated, “This is a case about a constitutional provision, one that is explicit, clear and unambiguous, and it is subject to no stated exception.  The state has not cited a single case where the reserve sovereign powers, the police powers, have been held to override a constitutional provision, and that’s because there is no such case.”

DiVito, a retired justice of the Illinois Appellate Court, has been a noted authority on the Pension Protection Clause (Article XIII, section 5) of the Illinois Constitution for years, and he often argues cases of great significance before the Illinois Supreme Court and the Illinois Appellate Court.  For more information about TDR’s appellate practice, please click here.