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Wednesday, December 5, 2012

New York Times is way late to the party

The newspaper of record is currently touting a Rhode Island case as "a first major test of whether, and how, financially strained states and cities can cut the benefits of their workers and retirees." And they're hooting about the judge's conflict of interest, since her own pension is affected by the case.

Here in Oregon, we've been through all of this many years ago. Out here, no, you can't cut the benefits and no, the conflicts of interest don't stop the judges from ruling on their own case. Interestingly, the O rehashed that very tale just the other day.

Comments (7)

Oh yeah judge's in Oregon are sure to uphold PERS changes. Jack, on down the road is bankruptcy for the state the only option if any and all attempts at "reform" of PERS fail to win court approval?

If the judges cannot or will not recuse themselves for pro tem judges who are not beneficiaries, then the legislature should create a legislative fix (since they created the problem legislatively). This IS a conflict of interest. It does not matter who the judge is or how honorable he is or disinterested he acts, it is prima facie a conflict of interest.

Rule of necessity applies

"Rule of necessity applies"

Spoken like a true hack. If you read the article, this defense is debatable and debated.

The bigger "necessity" might seem to be saving the State's marginal financial viability. You know, one of those "don't kill the goose" things.

There are also two other outs, as previously stated.

True hack huh Sally? Seems like you're the hack. From New Jersey law site " At a superficial level, it may seem strange that judges could rule on an issue that affects them personally. But the “rule of necessity” has long held that a judge is required to hear such cases, since “if every judge is disqualified from hearing a case, the litigant will be denied the right to have his case adjudicated.” Judge Feinberg expressly addressed this issue near the outset of her opinion, and concluded, relying extensively on United States v. Will, 440 U.S. 200 (1980), that she not only could but was required to decide the case. She also cited a number of appellate decisions from other states that held, under the rule of necessity, that judges were to rule on cases involving judicial salaries or retirement benefits." The defense is not debatable.

I was referring to the Oregonian piece. Every judge is not disqualified by virtue of being party to PERS. Or, the legislature could create a separate pension plan for judges. They added them in. They could subtract them out.

The Court in Oregon was sharply divided. The issue is debatable. It needs to be debated. The stakes are too high.

Public employee unions did not used to own this state.

The court was divided on the case before them but they were not divided on whether they should hear the case.

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