Christie Lawyers Decry……..Christie

It was reported that lawyers for New Jersey Governor Chris Christie filed documents today asking Superior Court Judge Mary Jacobson to dismiss lawsuits brought by public-worker unions arguing that Christie had to cut the pension payment to avert a budget crisis.

In an ironic twist, the Christie administration’s 77-page legal brief repeatedly disavows a pension overhaul the governor helped design and signed into law during his first term — what Christie once hailed as the cornerstone of his plan to repair New Jersey’s crumbling pension system.

The 2011 law shifted more pension costs to public workers, but it also gave them a contract right to full payments from the state budget into their underfunded retirement plans every year. Now, lawyers for Christie are calling that budget obligation unconstitutional, “void and unenforceable” and economically reckless.

“The Constitution forbids the Legislature from placing an unwilling populace in an eternal fiscal stranglehold,” the state argues. Christie’s lawyers also describe the union plaintiffs as “special interest groups that seek satisfaction of their own wants at the expense of the common good.”

The state’s arguments are premised on the belief that the 2011 reform that made the actuarially determined pension contribution mandatory was illegal (though presumably Chrstie lawyers doing the advising back in 2011 would disagree) because, by point:

  1. Debt Limitation Clause of the state constitution was violated since requiring pension contributions (however small) by a future legislature is forbidden. pages 10 – 23
  2. Appropriations Clause was violated (same rationale as point 1) pages 23 – 26
  3. Governor’s Veto Power Derogated – pages 26 – 35
  4. Legislature did not override the governor’s veto so there! pages 36 – 37
  5. Failure to Recommend payment of the unfunded liability (UL) does not mean anything. pages 37 – 38
  6. Fiscal Year 2014 is over already so there! pages 38 – 40
  7. The state not paying the UL portion of the contribution was reasonable and necessary and nobody can claim otherwise. pages 40 – 45
  8. These are all “non-justiciable political questions.” pages 45 – 52
  9. Doctrine of Sovereign Immunity bars federal constitutional claims. pages 52 – 60
  10. “Takings Claim fails because an alleged taking of money is not actionable under the Takings Clause.” pages 62 – 63
  11. Due Process claim fails because the governor’s actions are rational. pages 63 – 66
  12. Estoppel fails because estoppel would interfere with essential government services.  pages 66 – 68
  13. We are not crooks. pages 69 – 70
  14. State had a legitimate public purpose and no ill will. pages 71 – 72
  15. Equal Protection claims by the state troopers are silly. pages 73 – 74
  16. Civil Rights Act claims also silly. pages 74 – 76

The arguments all give off the feel of gibberish to an untrained lawyer (i.e. me) but, assuming the state gets a judge to agree with their positions, a practical question needs to be asked.  What then is it that a New Jersey governor cannot do?*

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* Outside of running the state fairly and for the benefit of the working-class majority obviously.   If a governor or legislature can refuse to pay obligations that they do not feel like paying then what recourse does anyone have except to not deal with New Jersey on anything?

21 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Anonymous on September 3, 2014 at 12:12 am

    Christie is a liar and TL thinks that is okay. Nothing wrong with it.

    Reply

    • Posted by Tough Love on September 3, 2014 at 12:29 am

      Oh please this is simply “politics” as usual.

      It doesn’t change the FACT that NJ’s Public Sector pensions are grossly excessive (by any reasonable metric), are unnecessary to attract and retain a qualified workforce, are financially unsustainable, and are eminently unfair to Taxpayers.

      And ditto your retiree healthcare “promises”.

      If Public Sector pensions & benefits were cut by 50% across-the-board, the taxpayer paid-for share would STILL be greater in value at retirement that almost all private Sector pension & benefits.

      Time to gut the pig, I I don’t mean Christie.

      Reply

  2. Posted by Anonymous on September 3, 2014 at 6:23 am

    And it does not change the fact that TL was dumb enough to believe Christies lies and now she will rationalize it by saying, Oh please this is simply politics as usual Then she maintains Christie has done a wonderful job! i AM POSITIVE IT IS HER ATTITUDE THAT JUST KEEPS THINGS ON THE SAME TRACK THEY HAVE ALWAYS BEEN ON.SHE ACCEPTS THEIR LIES AS NORMAL AND ACCEPTABLE! AND IF EVERYTHING IS CUT BY 50 PERCENT YOU STILL WONT SEE ANY RELIEF AND THAT IS WHEN YOU WILL SAY. HE LIED AGAIN! BUT OH WAIT A MINUTE THATS WHAT THEY DO! LMAO

    Reply

  3. Posted by Anonymous on September 3, 2014 at 10:27 am

    I propose you shut your piehole because nothing comes out but hot air and that isnt going to get anything done,

    Reply

  4. The legal brief appears to succinctly sum up the current situation especially the part about keeping the general populace in an eternal fiscal stranglehold. The debt should be repudiated. Not to worry, lots of people will do business with NJ as goods and services will still be needed only at the new normal costs. If Christie has any real chutzpuh he would have made the significant changes needed way back when instead of putting another band aid on the problem. He should make an example of himself and his staff and cut their own benefits first. He might have a leg to stand on at that point.

    Reply

  5. Posted by RealRep on September 3, 2014 at 5:19 pm

    When you give your staff (the largest staff any N.J. governor ever had) 23% raises after all their shenanigans your credibility is less than zero. He spit the bit long ago.

    Reply

  6. Posted by Anonymous on September 3, 2014 at 8:58 pm

    TL believes in him

    Reply

  7. Posted by Anonymous on September 4, 2014 at 2:58 am

    No denial of her faith in Christie. She trusts and supports him fully.

    Reply

  8. Posted by Anonymous on September 4, 2014 at 3:02 am

    Corzine took no salary, he worked for free. Corzine put in much higher percentage of what was due into the pension fund, therefore he made more in contributions than Christie ever did. Christie continued the smoke and mirrors of the past. Liar, liar pants on fire! That is a pretty big fire!

    Reply

  9. Posted by Anonymous on September 4, 2014 at 12:31 pm

    John isnt it true that if you look the percentage paid of what was due for the state pension contribution, Jon Corzine put more money in than Christ Christie. He put in a lower percentage of what was due cause the system to fall even further into debt,true.
    Corzine could have made progress but most people did not want face the music. Things are even worst now due to Christies lies and deceit, yet he is a self proclaimed savior! Ridiculously enough people like TL have faith is his agenda.

    Reply

    • Posted by Tough Love on September 4, 2014 at 12:48 pm

      No, things are worse now because the Unions and Democratic (bought-off) Legislature REFUSE to materially reduce (for all CURRENT workers) the Grossly Excessive levels now in place, and EVERY DAY the workers accrue more unaffordable/unsustainable pensions.

      The 1-st in getting out of a BIG HOLE is to STOP DIGGING.

      Reply

    • Corzine made more of an attempt to fund the plan and likely put in a bigger percentage for what was needed for full funding but considering that the ARCs have been ridiculously understated anyway we’re talking about Corzine putting in maybe 12% of the real contribution while Christie is around 10%. Though remember this is the state’s share. The employees and localities have been putting in money too and the plan looks a little better funded since localities can’t renege arbitrarily on their contributions like Christie gets to do for the state.

      Reply

  10. Posted by Anonymous on September 4, 2014 at 3:18 pm

    So it true that Christie is outright lying by implying he has done more than any other governor in regards to the pension system. Christie would do well as president since the federal government doesnt need to pay off it debts and can print money when they wish.

    Reply

  11. Posted by Anonymous on September 4, 2014 at 3:34 pm

    Look TL even if they wipe the state clean regarding pensions. The politicians will no doubt start digging another hole as quickly as possible. You arent going to get any benefit regardless so I am not sure why you have faith that the politicians will act to benefit the taxpayer.

    Reply

    • Posted by Tough Love on September 4, 2014 at 3:49 pm

      Last time I will likely respond to you …

      (1) All politicians lie, some more than others. It’s certainly not as big a deal as you seem to believe, that Christie lies. It in their DNA.

      (2) Yes, I’m sure if they “fixed” the pension mess (which to me means VERY large benefit reductions for the FUTURE service of all CURRENT workers, AND if needed to avoid tax increases, reductions to the PAST service accruals of active both and those already retired), our politicians would continue to find way to waste money. So what … at least we would be able to cross one HUGE one off the list of problems … your grossly excessive pensions & benefits.

      (3) I have no illusions that my taxes will actually go DOWN. I just don’t want them to rise to shore up grossly excessive Public Sector pensions & benefits that were never necessary, justifiable, or sustainable from day one …. and granted only because your Unions BOUGHT the votes (with campaign contributions & election support) to get them granted.

      It’s WAY PAY time to end this financial “mugging” of the Taxpayers.

      Reply

  12. Posted by Anonymous on September 4, 2014 at 3:53 pm

    good thing you realize you cant win

    Reply

  13. Posted by Anonymous on September 4, 2014 at 6:22 pm

    Freudian slip by TL. Yes it WAY PAY time. Finally time to pay for all the tax rebates etc

    Reply

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