By Daniel C. Re
On May 13, 2011, I filed a lawsuit against PERS in the Oregon Court of Appeals. The lawsuit challenges the constitutionality of three PERS administrative rules that are based on the 1996 Oregon Supreme Court decision that invalidated Ballot Measure 8. Oral argument in the case has been set for August 23, 2012. The primary issue is whether judges who are PERS members can decide PERS cases.
PERS was created in 1945. For the first 38 years that PERS existed, Oregon judges had their own independent retirement plan and were not PERS members. During that period, Oregon judges were neutral when they decided PERS cases. But in 1983, the Oregon legislature passed a new law that required the judges to join PERS.
That law took away the judges’ neutrality in PERS cases and deprived Oregonians of their right to independent judges when PERS cases are decided. By making all judges PERS members, the legislature stacked the deck totally in favor of PERS members every time a PERS case goes to court. The invalidation of Ballot Measure 8 in 1996 has required hundreds of millions of dollars every year to go to PERS to make sure most PERS members will never have to pay one cent in PERS contributions. If Ballot Measure 8 had been upheld, the hundreds of millions of dollars that are now going to PERS members each year would be available to provide vital services, such as education and public safety, to all Oregonians. But it’s not, it’s just going to PERS members.
Independent judges protect us from governmental abuse. That is a fundamental right. I do not believe the government can take that right away from us. This is a battle that must be fought. And that is why I am suing PERS.
Daniel C. Re, www.inrethepeople.wordpress.com.
Daniel C. Re is an attorney in Bend, Oregon. He will address the Rubicon Society in Eugene on Thursday, August 2 at noon. The meeting is open to the public and there is no charge. Click here for more information: http://www.rubiconsociety.org/events/dan-re-pers/