Two former state senators fighting for back pay await a decision from the Illinois Supreme Court

The justices could tell Mendoza to start cutting checks, or they could tell Noland and Clayborne they are out of luck. (WJBC file photo)

By Dave Dahl

SPRINGFIELD – Two former state senators are now awaiting word from the Illinois Supreme Court about their effort to recover pay they say they lost unconstitutionally.

Attorney Michael Scotti represents Mike Noland and James Clayborne, he said during oral arguments Wednesday, “in their efforts to rectify the wrongful circumstances created by the passage of eighteen separate statutes that violated the Illinois Constitution.”

At issue here are furlough days and sacrificed cost-of-living increases the plaintiffs say they are entitled to.

Representing the state, assistant attorney general Richard Huszagh explained, “These two individuals served in the Illinois Senate for many years. They sponsored, voted for, and publicly touted their sponsorship and votes for these laws that after the Great Recession imposed furlough days on members of the General Assembly and reduced their annual salary adjustments.”

The attempt to get back pay – after voting for the cost-saving measures – sticks in the craw of Illinois comptroller Susana Mendoza, who hopes the justices are equally offended.

“When they utilized their votes against taking the pay to get re-elected,” Mendoza said after the court session, “when they utilized them on their campaign mailers and in their press releases, it really is the height of hypocrisy. It is so shameful! It’s everything we teach our children not to do. So i do think that if you took a survey of ten people walking down the street, random illinoisans, (they would say) that’s exactly why people hate elected officials and politicians and don’t trust them.”

The justices could tell Mendoza to start cutting checks, or they could tell Noland and Clayborne they are out of luck.

Clayborne now practices law. Noland is now a judge.

Dave Dahl can be reached at


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