No word yet on whether the US Supreme Court will hear the New Jersey pension payment case this term but it’s already a winner for its lawyers.
Certiorari and amicus brief printer Supreme Court Press has named Christopher Burgos et al. v. State of New Jersey, Supreme Court Docket No. 15-293, to be its Petition of the Month for February and the announcement of the award released today had an interview with one of the plaintiff’s attorney, Lauren Sandy, that recapped the case and then got into implications:
|Would it be a satisfactory outcome that the increased employee contributions are eliminated?|
|The only satisfactory outcome would be to require the payment guaranteed by statute. I don’t believe that eliminating the increased employee contributions would achieve the desired outcome. However, if the New Jersey Supreme Court’s decision was to stand, the contract should be deemed unenforceable to both parties, which should in turn require that all State Troopers and other public employees be refunded the excess contribution under the law. Which was certainly why the New Jersey Supreme Court was careful not to determine the law unconstitutional. They, again, conveniently only determined that the statutory contract was unenforceable against the State.|
|What do you think are bigger picture implications if the New Jersey Supreme Court’s decision is allowed to stand? How has this affected labor relations in the state?|
|Labor relations in the State of New Jersey have reached deplorable levels. Over the past several years, labor relations have dramatically declined. The Governor has created statutory caps on raises, while requiring employees to contribute astronomically to their health insurance benefits, and then also failing to make contributions into their pension systems. Public employees in the State of New Jersey are making far less than they were five years ago.
Without the intervention by the U.S. Supreme Court, I fear that public employees will have no recourse for contractual and statutory violations which have effectively abrogated all of their rights.