Unions: No rush to rule on Illinois pension case

Attorneys representing unions in their case against the state's attempt to cut their pension benefits say there's no rush for the Illinois Supreme Court to pass judgment.

Last week, Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan asked the Supreme Court to hear oral arguments as early as next month because the pension decision could matter to lawmakers crafting a state budget. On Tuesday, the side representing teachers, state workers and retirees said Madigan was creating a “false sense of urgency.”

“The reason is obvious,” the filing says. “The defendants seek to impose a manifestly unfair briefing schedule on the plaintiffs.”

Gov. Pat Quinn and lawmakers approved a law last year to cut pension benefits, but union leaders sued, saying the Illinois Constitution bans such cuts.

A lower court has agreed, and the Supreme Court is likely to eventually decide the matter. Cuts to pension benefits could save the financially troubled state a lot of money every year, but opponents have argued from the beginning that the plan is both unfair to workers and not allowed by the constitution.

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