John Gregory -- Illinois Radio Network

Pension reform gets its day in court.

Defending the 2013 pension law before the Illinois Supreme Court was Illinois Solicitor General Carolyn Shapiro, who said the state is allowed to use its so-called 'police powers' to alter contracts, such as pension benefits, in an emergency. Shapiro argued the plaintiffs' argument would mean pensions are untouchable, even after a natural disaster or epidemic.

"That is not what the clause says," Shapiro said. "That is not what the clause was intended to do. That is not what the delegates to the constitutional convention discussed."

Speaking for the plaintiffs trying to block the law, attorney Gino DiVito argued the words in Illinois Constitution's Pension Protection Clause are so clear, official guides for voters weighing in on the 1970 constitution didn't bother to explain it.

"They are self-explanatory. They have common meaning," DiVito said.

The court hasn't set any date for when it will issue its ruling.

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