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The Court of Appeals in AlbanyThe Court of Appeals in Albany ()

ALBANY – The state’s highest court on Wednesday heard oral arguments as to whether New York violated the compensation clause of the state constitution by reducing its contributions to judges’ health insurance premiums.

The lawsuit, Bransten v. State of New York, filed by 13 sitting and retired Supreme Court justices and two judicial associations in 2012 was a result of a 2011 budgetary issue that allowed legislators to lower the state’s contributions toward health insurance premiums for state employees. The reductions in the state’s contributions to employees’ health insurance premiums were part of an effort to avoid layoffs amid a budget crisis. The affected workers were promised job security in exchange for contributing more toward their health insurance bill.

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