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Volokh Conspiracy

Law & Economics Center Judicial Education Program on 'The Economics and Law of Public Pension Reform'


Members of the judiciary (of all types and levels) may be interested in an upcoming program that the Law & Economics Center Judicial Education Program is hosting, "The Economics and Law of Public Pension Reform." It will be held March 20-22 in Charleston, S.C. This is our fourth and (probably) final presentation of this conference, and we still have a few slots left for those who are interested. Information and registration materials are available here.

I'm especially pleased to announce that our keynote speaker for this program will be Judge Steven W. Rhodes (now retired), who presided over the Detroit bankruptcy case. In addition, we have a star-studded lineup of speakers (by academic terms at least), including the leading authorities in the field of law, economics and public policy regarding public employee pensions. I've attended the program several times myself, and each time I still learn more. Here's the program description:

Program Description: The Judicial Symposium on the Economics and Law of Public Pension Reform will discuss the looming financial and structural crisis facing state pensions systems across the nation. With several dozen states adopting modest to major reforms, the economic impact on plan beneficiaries will be substantial, and at least twenty-five jurisdictions are facing lawsuits due to the reforms adopted.

This symposium will comprehensively outline the underlying structure of pension systems, address the differences between public and private pensions, and detail the unfunded liabilities and potential bankruptcy issues arising from this crisis. It also will discuss the legal challenges to reform efforts under state constitutions citing both the contracts clause and the takings clause.

The symposium is structured to allow ample time for participant dialogue with speakers and panelists.

There are still a few spaces left, and the program is open to judges at all levels (federal, state, bankruptcy, etc.). As more and more public employee pension systems hit the wall over coming years and decades, these issues will arise more and more frequently in the legal system. This is a great introduction to a very complex topic (not to mention your own pensions!), with extremely accessible and engaging lecturers.