Supreme Court asks skeptical questions in pension case

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — The New Jersey Supreme Court is weighing whether a 2011 law improperly ended public pensioners’ cost-of-living raises. The justices heard oral arguments yesterday in the case that reaches back to a nearly five-year-old law that suspended cost-of-living adjustments. They questioned arguments from the Christie administration as well as attorneys for plaintiffs. A group of retired prosecutors brought the case, arguing the 2011 law violated contractual rights to the pay raises. The state argues a 1997 law establishing the right applies to pensions, not the adjustments. The justices seemed skeptical of both sides. Justice Anne Patterson questioned whether the statute clearly expressed a contractual right. Justice Barry Albin questioned whether a reasonable person would think the 1997 law could possibly not include the adjustments.