The lawyers who actually prepared and argued the case of Illinois’ pension restructuring law stopped short of predicting what the Illinois Supreme Court justices will do, but the lawyer who sponsored the law in the Illinois Senate went there: it doesn't look good for the state. “We do have a huge challenge before us, regardless of how this case is resolved,” says State Sen. Kwame Raoul (D-Chicago), “but I think the indications are that we'll be back to the negotiation table.”
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Raoul was in the courtroom to watch the oral arguments. Among the main threads: Justice Bob Thomas' questioning of how the state's desired police powers here would not just give the state free rein to cause a problem and then declare an emergency and supersede the Constitution again.
“That is one of the factors that is relevant to the Court's ultimate determination on the merits,” said Solicitor General Carolyn Shapiro after the hearing.
“The state itself has created this problem,” said union lawyer Michael Freeborn, “and now seeks to load onto the backs of these hardworking individuals the solution to the problem they created.”
“The evidence in the case at this point shows that (the problem) is not entirely of the state's own making,” concluded Shapiro.
The case is expedited, but there's no hard expectation of a timetable for the Supreme Court to act.