McGlynn v. State of CaliforniaAnnotate this Case
Six judges who were elected to the superior court in mid-term elections in 2012, but who did not take office until January 7, 2013, claimed entitlement to benefits under the Judges’ Retirement System II (JRS II) as in effect at the time they were elected, rather than at the time they assumed office. On January 1, 2013, JRS II became subject to the California Public Employees’ Pension Reform Act of 2013 (PEPRA), Government Code section 75500, which amended virtually all state employee retirement systems to address the state’s enormous unfunded pension liability and return these systems to actuarially sound footing. PEPRA increases employee contributions, provides for fluctuating contribution rates based on market performance and actuarial projections, and bases the amount of monthly pension payments on an employee’s final three years of compensation, rather than on only the final year. The court of appeal held that the judges did not obtain a vested right in JRS II benefits as judges-elect, but rather obtained a vested right to retirement benefits only upon taking office after PEPRA went into effect. PEPRA’s provisions pertaining to fluctuating pension contributions do not violate the non-diminution clause of the California Constitution nor do they impermissibly delegate legislative authority over judicial compensation.