Jessica M. Karmasek Oct. 21, 2013, 3:15pm

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (Legal Newsline) -- The Illinois Supreme Court has agreed to hear an appeal filed by Gov. Pat Quinn over lawmaker pay.

Earlier this month, Quinn filed an appeal to the court, asking it to overturn a lower court's decision declaring his veto of money for lawmaker salaries unconstitutional.

The high court, in a single-page order Wednesday, allowed the governor's motion for direct appeal.

However, it did not set a hearing date.

In July, Quinn vetoed the money for lawmakers' paychecks, saying he was upset they hadn't done anything to address the state's pension crisis.

In turn, House Speaker Michael Madigan -- father of state attorney general Lisa Madigan -- and Senate President John Cullerton sued.

In September, Cook County Circuit Judge Neil Cohen sided with the lawmakers, saying Quinn's veto was unconstitutional and ordered the state to pay lawmakers immediately.

"I respectfully disagree with the judge's decision," the governor said in a statement following Cohen's ruling, adding he would seek a court stay preventing any paychecks from being issued until the case is considered by the state's high court.

Quinn argues the case is about more than a governor's constitutional authority to suspend appropriations for legislative paychecks.

"The reason I suspended legislative paychecks in the first place -- and refused to accept my own -- is because Illinois taxpayers can't afford an endless cycle of promises, excuses, delays and inertia on the most critical challenge of our time," he said.

"Illinois' pension crisis is costing taxpayers millions of dollars a day; robbing our children of the education and public safety services they desperately need; and holding our economy back from real recovery."

Quinn said he will not accept a paycheck until a comprehensive pension reform bill is on his desk -- and neither should legislators, he added.

"Nobody in Springfield should get paid until the pension reform job gets done," he said.

From Legal Newsline: Reach Jessica Karmasek by email at

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