On August 23, 2012, oral arguments were held in the Oregon Court of Appeals in the case of Daniel C. Re v. PERS. This case challenges the validity of PERS administrative regulations involving PERS benefits for judges. All elected Oregon judges automatically become PERS members the minute they take office. The issue is whether Court of Appeals judges who are PERS members can decide PERS cases when their personal PERS benefits are at stake in the case. This is the first time in the history of Oregon this issue has been contested.
I was very impressed with the preparation of the judges hearing the case. They knew exactly what the issue was and what position each party was taking on that issue. They asked very relevant questions, including what the procedure would be used if they disqualified themselves. I am confident that the judges are taking the issue of their qualification to decide the case seriously and that their opinion will directly address that issue.
It is unknown when the court will issue its opinion on the case. Each party was given an additional 14 days to provide additional authority in support of its position. I am hopeful that the opinion will be published before the end of 2012. I will publish an another UPDATE on the case once there is more information available.