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.