UPDATE 5: The Fight To Reinstate Ballot Measure 8

As reported in the 4th UPDATE, posted  January 28, 2011, the Oregon Tax Court judge, who is a PERS member,  denied my motion to disqualify him from my tax refund case.   The tax refund case asks for a refund of the property taxes I paid in 2010 that will be used to pay PERS employee contributions.  Oregon’s constitution, as amended by Ballot Measure 8 in 1994, prohibits the pick up of employee PERS contributions.  It is my position that the 1996 Oregon Supreme Court decision that invalidated  Ballot Measure 8 is void because all of the justices were disqualified from deciding that case. 

On February 14, 2011, Oregon’s 152nd birthday, I filed an action in the Oregon Supreme Court, asking the Supreme Court to order the Oregon Tax court judge to disqualify himself from hearing my tax refund case.  I also filed a motion to disqualify all of the Supreme Court justices because, like the Tax Court judge, each one of them is a PERS member by Oregon law and that gives them a financial interest in the outcome of this case. 

This will be the first time the Oregon Supreme court will address the qualification of PERS judges to hear PERS cases, when a party has objected to them doing so.  Each time this issue has previously arisen, the Court held that all potential judges who could hear the case were PERS members and, therefore, they had to hear it.  The party that could have objected, the Oregon Attorney General, did not do so.  In most of those case, the Attorney General was also a PERS member. 

I believe this case will establish that Oregon law, the Oregon Code of Judicial Conduct and the US Constitution require that it be heard by judges who are not PERS members.  That will be accomplished by  either (1) finding  a way to appoint temporary non-PERS judge to the court to hear the case or (2) declaring the law that put the judges into PERS in 1983 to be unconstitutional.  If that law is unconstitutional it never legally existed and the Oregon judges have never been PERS members.   Either way, the case will end up being heard by judges who are not PERS members.

New updates will be posted as events in the Supreme Court occur.

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About Dan Re

I am an attorney who has lived in Bend and practiced law since 1981. In educating myself about the Oregon Public Employees Retirement System (PERS), I was shocked at how the PERS laws were changed by the legislature, once legislators were allowed to join PERS in 1971, 26 years after PERS was first created. Those changes personally benefitted the legislators who made them at the direct financial expense of the people they were elected to represent. That is wrong and I intend to change it. In 2009, I started a non-profit 501(c)(4) corporation, In RE The People, Inc., for the purpose of informing concerned citizens of what happened regarding PERS and other issues of social and civic importance. I then created this blog to further that objective.
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