Federal appeals court declines to hear case on Illinois retiree benefits

SPRINGFIELD (AP) — A federal appeals court in Chicago has declined to resolve a contentious issue over whether Illinois’ constitution strictly bars the reduction of retiree benefits.

(Credit: tomloel)
(Credit: tomloel)

A unanimous decision by the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals says the question is best left, at least for now, to the state. The panel posted the ruling late Wednesday.
    
Chicago retirees filed the suit last year against the city of Chicago. It argued that the state constitution and federal contract law prohibit the city from forcing retirees to pay more for health care.
    
The court’s opinion says plaintiffs hadn’t shown how U.S. contract law applies. It also says the federal court was “reluctant to resolve a novel issue of state constitutional law” that is still working its way through state legal and legislative channels.