September 10, 2015
Peter Verniero was interviewed for this Debtwire article, which starts out, "New Jersey unions appealing to the US Supreme Court to enforce Governor Chris Christie’s (R) broken pension funding pledge are attempting to unite a patchwork of state precedents on public employees’ contract rights ..." As seen later in the article, "The unions are arguing a violation of the federal contracts clause, a constitutional provision designed to prevent governments from using sovereign immunity to walk away from contractual obligations. In so doing, the unions are building on arguments expressed by New Jersey Supreme Court Justice Barry Albin, including his references to the debt limitation clauses in other state constitutions, said Peter Verniero of Sills Cummis & Gross. The dissenting opinion found that the 2011 retirement law created a binding contract, even without voter approval and appropriated funds. 'Although, of course, the US Supreme Court is free to analyze independently whether a valid contract is formed in a case of this type, a state Supreme Court’s analysis would carry considerable weight,' Verniero said."