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BERNARD J. GOODHEART ET AL. v. HONORABLE DICK THORNBURGH (03/06/87)

decided: March 6, 1987.

BERNARD J. GOODHEART ET AL., PETITIONERS
v.
THE HONORABLE DICK THORNBURGH, IN HIS CAPACITY AS GOVERNOR OF THE COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, THE STATE EMPLOYEES' RETIREMENT BOARD, AND R. BUDD DWYER, IN HIS CAPACITY AS TREASURER OF THE COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, RESPONDENTS



Original Jurisdiction in the case of Bernard J. Goodheart, et al. v. The Honorable Dick Thornburgh, in his capacity as Governor of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, the General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, The State Employees' Retirement Board, and R. Budd Dwyer, in his capacity as Treasurer of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

COUNSEL

Henry T. Reath, with him, Judith N. Renzulli, Duane, Morris & Heckscher, for petitioners.

John P. Krill, Deputy General Counsel, with him, Andrew H. Cline, for respondent, Governor Richard Thornburgh.

Ursula B. Bartels, with her, C. Clark Hodgson, Jr., Stradley, Ronon, Stevens & Young, for respondent, The General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

Susan J. Forney, Senior Deputy Attorney General, with her, Andrew S. Gordon, Chief Deputy Attorney General, for respondent, State Employees' Retirement Board.

Vincent X. Yakowicz, for respondent, R. Budd Dwyer, Treasurer of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

President Judge Crumlish, Jr. Opinion by President Judge Crumlish, Jr. Judges Craig, MacPhail, Doyle, Barry, Colins and Palladino did not participate in the decision in this case.

Author: Crumlish

[ 104 Pa. Commw. Page 387]

The Honorable Bernard J. Goodheart, representing himself, an association, and five other judges of the common pleas court*fn1 (petitioners) have filed a petition for review in the nature of a complaint in mandamus and for a declaratory judgment. Petitioners ask this

[ 104 Pa. Commw. Page 388]

Court to declare unconstitutional those portions of the State Employees' Retirement Code of 1974, 71 Pa. C.S. ยงยง 5101-5956 (1974 Code), which eliminated certain provisions of the State Employees' Retirement Code of 1959.*fn2 They also seek a writ of mandamus to compel the appropriation of adequate funds to permit them to receive retirement benefits according to the same formula applied to judges assuming office before enactment of the 1974 Code.

The petition names as respondents the State Employees' Retirement Board, the State Treasurer, the Governor, and the Commonwealth General Assembly, all of whom, except for the Governor, have filed preliminary objections now before this Court.*fn3

Background

The Retirement Code of 1959 established a comprehensive retirement system for state employees, including judges. Participation in the system was mandatory, and all Commonwealth judges were required to contribute to the fund at statutorily prescribed levels. Judges had an option, however, to elect "Class E-1" coverage, which permitted them to contribute a higher percentage of their salaries and receive proportionately higher benefits. They could also opt into the system's Social Security Integration Plan (SSI Plan) by making additional ...


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