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Ill. Supreme Court Reverses Pay Raise Order

Ill. Comptroller Dan Hynes (State of Illinois photo)
Ill. Comptroller Dan Hynes (State of Illinois photo)

By Sean Crawford, Ill. Public Radio

Springfield, Ill. – The Illinois Supreme Court has backed off an earlier decision regarding judicial pay raises.

The court had earlier said the state must pay scheduled cost-of-living pay raises to the state's judges, despite a gubernatorial veto on the pay increases.

The high court says it will allow the matter to go to trial, rather than forcing the hikes to judges be paid.

Just last week, justices ordered Comptroller Dan Hynes to boost all judges' pay by nearly 3%. The court, in a rare, move, is reversing itself.

While a case is pending in Cook County, several judges filed suit asking that pay raises be granted.

"Comptroller Hynes has always felt a legal action filed in the appropriate jurisdiction with proper notice is the proper way to resolve this issue," said Hynes' spokeswoman Karen Craven. "The Supreme Court's order accomplishes jsut that."

At the heart of the case is a small section of the Illniois Constitution that prohibits Illinois judges' pay from being
diminished while in office. What's unclear is whether that applies to cost-of-living increases.

The Supreme Court could still wind up being the final arbitor on that question. The Governor rejected the pay raises because of the state's poor fiscal condition.