The state Supreme Court has unleashed a powerful storm with its pension ruling. There are threats of union infighting and legal fights, even a constitutional amendment. NJTV News Chief Political Correspondent Michael Aron has been looking at what’s next.
Aron said an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court over the pension ruling is a possibility with the federal constitution’s contract clause. He said it’s pretty unlikely, however, that the U.S. Supreme Court would overrule the state Supreme Court.
“It also looks like the Democrats in the Legislature will fully fund the pension in the budget they’re debating right now. The governor will line item veto that out and they don’t have the votes to override,” Aron said. “And a constitutional amendment is also a possibility. Demanding that the government fully fund the pensions and putting it on the ballot this fall — something that you have to do by a two-thirds majority in August.”
According to Aron, Democrats are lining up with unions on the issue saying Christie’s actions are unacceptable and they’re trying to coordinate their strategies. Republicans are echoing the governor, asking the unions to come back to the negotiation table to work out the so-called pension benefit reform 2.0. “It would cut things, but it would preserve the pension system long-term and that’s what the Republicans are hoping the unions will do. It doesn’t look like they are inclined to do that,” Aron said.
Christie has said his family’s on board for a 2016 presidential run. Aron said that while initially this court ruling is a big victory for him, it could be a double edged sword. “On the one hand he looks like a union buster. He looks likes Scott Walker taking on the public employee unions. On the other hand, it underscores that his state is fiscally kind of messed up. And that can be used against him,” Aron said.