The three Republican justices on the Illinois Supreme Court appeared to be the biggest skeptics of the state's case in the Illinois pension reform lawsuit. That's not what most observers expected as both sides presented their arguments to the seven members of the court.
Reboot Illinois' Madeleine Doubek explains:
If there was a surprise in the brief, hour-long oral pension arguments before the Illinois Supreme Court, it might have been that most of the questions challenging changing benefits came from Republican justices who would have been expected to be more supportive of cutting union and public worker benefits.
Justice Bob Thomas, a former Chicago Bears kicker with the Super Bowl-winning 1985 team, riddled the state's solicitor general with questions about the state's view that it finds itself in an emergency that justifies altering its contract with public workers and pensioners.
While the Democrats sat mostly quietly, questions from the bench came from Thomas, Republican Chief Justice Rita Garman and Lloyd Karmeier, but mostly and most sharply from Thomas. Afterward, union lawyers cautioned against reading too much into the pointed questioning, but it came again and again.
(Read the rest of Doubek's thoughts o what the case and each side's arguments mean at Reboot Illinois.
And to get a sense of just how skeptical the Republican judges were and just how silent the Democratic judges were, check out this compilation of highlight videos from the hearing.)
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