Judge to rule at 2 p.m. in state pension case; will chaos ensue?

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Tallahassee Circuit Judge Jackie Fulford is expected to rule today in a case involving a new requirement passed last year that requires state workers to put 3 percent of their weekly check into a retirement account, reports the News Service of Florida. The legal questions in the case revolve around whether the changes to the pension program break a portion of the law declaring the system a contractual obligation between the state and its employees. Fulford has a hearing scheduled in her courtroom at 2 p.m., at which time she’ll make her ruling known and take motions from the parties.

Already, Mike Haridopolos is blasting the Judge Fulford. Haridopolos said a ruling against the state in the case — which some observers expect because of Fulford’s forceful questioning of state attorneys — would wreak havoc on the state.

“I think that would be the ultimate case of judicial activism,” he said. “And sadly, it’s nothing new for this particular judge.” Haridopolos’ suggestion that he finds the judge unctuous comes after the hearing on the pension change and Fulford’s decision to strike down a prison privatization plan written into the fine print of last year’s budget. An attempt to pass that plan on its own this year failed in the Senate.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.