LIVE session coverage...
SUBSCRIBE to Capitol Fax      Advertise Here      Mobile Version     Exclusive Subscriber Content     Updated Posts    Contact
CapitolFax.com
To subscribe to Capitol Fax, click here.
Beyond the rhetoric

Friday, May 2, 2014

* From an op-ed by Kent Redfield on the proposed constitutional amendment to reform redistricting

This redistricting amendment is straightforward: Create an independent commission of Illinois citizens who would draw state maps in a transparent way, using nonpartisan, criteria. Those criteria would include keeping together communities of common interests — economic, social, racial, linguistic or cultural.

They also include respecting existing city and geographic boundaries and complying with state and federal voting rights laws. And the criteria prohibit the commission from favoring one political party over another or using district boundaries to reward or punish any incumbent legislator.

The number of signatures collected showing support for putting the proposal on the ballot make it unlikely a challenge to their validity will be successful. My reading of the proposal is in agreement with many experts who believe the Illinois Supreme Court will turn back any legal challenge to the proposal.

Yet political leaders in control of the legislature are laying the groundwork to challenge this measure.

Why use precious resources against long odds? The risk does offer a reward. If efforts to block the proposal from being on the November ballot are successful, it will relieve those in power from having to defend the failed status quo.

During the debate over the constitutional convention several years ago, I argued forcefully and repeatedly for a convention based mostly on this one issue of redistricting reform. Politicians shouldn’t be allowed to choose their own voters.

* But there’s a real constitutional issue here. This is what the Illinois Constitution says about citizen amendment initiatives

Amendments shall be limited to structural and procedural subjects contained in Article IV

Article IV is the General Assembly’s article.

* But this is from the proposed amendment’s language on the composition of the Redistricting Commission

For ten years after service as a Commissioner or Special Commissioner, a person is ineligible to serve as a Senator, Representative, officer of the Executive Branch, Judge, or Associate Judge of the State or an officer or employee of the State whose appointment is subject to confirmation by the Senate.

By prohibiting people from running for judge or statewide office for ten years, the proposal goes well beyond anything in Article IV.

And that’s a real problem, no matter what the merits of the issue of redistricting reform itself may be. I can understand the reform reasoning for putting that campaign ban in there, but I don’t yet see the constitutional support for it.

- Posted by Rich Miller        


27 Comments
  1. - wordslinger - Friday, May 2, 14 @ 12:18 pm:

    You’d think that if you were going to make this effort, you’d have your lawyers draw it so tight that there wouldn’t be Constitutional questions.


  2. - Abe the Babe - Friday, May 2, 14 @ 12:22 pm:

    ==By prohibiting people from running for judge or statewide office for ten years, the proposal goes well beyond anything in Article IV.==

    Unless you can successfully argue that the new commission is a mechanism by which the structure and procedure of the GA is changed. And the prohibition on commission employment is a part of that “mechanism”.


  3. - RNUG - Friday, May 2, 14 @ 12:23 pm:

    It’s a bit of a stretch, but Article IV does address requirements to hold office:

    (c) To be eligible to serve as a member of the General Assembly, a person must be a United States citizen, at least 21 years old, and for the two years preceding his election or appointment a resident of the district which he is to represent.

    If you view the 10 year “ban” as another requirement, then it probably passes muster. And let’s not forget, no one is being forced to be a Commissioner or Special Commissioner; that is a voluntary choice.

    While it’s anybody’s guess what a particular court would do, I think it would survive a challenge.


  4. - thechampaignlife - Friday, May 2, 14 @ 12:30 pm:

    They should’ve thrown a severability clause in it.


  5. - Oswego Willy - Friday, May 2, 14 @ 12:30 pm:

    Everyone thinks they have good Counsel, then you end up in court and you find out how good they are.

    This isn’t “Trial and Error” when going about a state government decides to do something as critical as changing the impactful structuring of legislative bodies, in any manner of that structure.

    Just because some think they have a good idea, doesn’t mean that. “Good Idea” passes muster to even be considered.

    To the Point of convening the Constitutional Convention, I go back and forth, but here is the rub, for me;

    Gathering together to look at a document that in its design gives avenues to gather and make it better, you should take “it” up on it.

    If ignoring it isn’t working for either side, while all sides keep pointing to it, arbitrarily, let’s grab a chair and talk. Even if but a small few changes are made, they are made all the same, the map question notwithstanding.


  6. - Formerly Known As... - Friday, May 2, 14 @ 12:32 pm:

    Severability?


  7. - Formerly Known As... - Friday, May 2, 14 @ 12:34 pm:

    champaignlife beat me to it!

    To the post: even if this is thrown out in court, it still focuses attention on the broad support for this issue and generates some heat on legislators to act. Whether that will be a first step or last on the road to reform, it is too early to tell.


  8. - Mason born - Friday, May 2, 14 @ 12:35 pm:

    Fogive my ignorance but, can the court remove the restriction allow the rest or is it all out?


  9. - Precinct Captain - Friday, May 2, 14 @ 12:40 pm:

    Mason, that’s why Champaignlife brought up severability. If there’s a severability clause then if one part of the act/amendment/etc is thrown out, the rest of it stands. Wiki actually has a good overview of severability.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Severability


  10. - muon - Friday, May 2, 14 @ 12:50 pm:

    I have no idea whether this gets to the constitutional question, but I read the section on commissioners as describing their duties for their term of service. The commissioners may be called upon to defend their map over the decade it’s in use, so ten years seems like a reasonable definition of the term of office of the commissioners. By agreeing to be a commissioner, the person is agreeing to the term of service which includes the restrictions on other offices that may be held. A person doesn’t have to agree to be a commissioner and then there is no limitation on the qualifications for those other offices.


  11. - Hon. John Fritchey - Friday, May 2, 14 @ 1:02 pm:

    Not surprisingly, Kent is spot on.


  12. - VanillaMan - Friday, May 2, 14 @ 1:07 pm:

    It isn’t uncommon for governments to undergo reforms during long stretches of economic uncertainty.

    We just may be living during one of those times.

    The status quo is fighting it, but voters have lost their patience with the status quo.

    I was also a big proponent of a constitutional convention - but Jim Edgar took quite a squat over it and helped kill it.

    Either party could have taken an opportunity to clean their own houses and demonstrate that they could change. Instead they chose to tell everyone that it is someone else’s problem, or mere complaints from losers, or that everyone didn’t know how to do governing better than they could.


  13. - Anon. - Friday, May 2, 14 @ 1:09 pm:

    ==I don’t yet see the constitutional support for it.==

    No problem. The “police powers” exception from constitutional provisions will take care of that.


  14. - Anon - Friday, May 2, 14 @ 1:18 pm:

    Rich,
    I’m not taking sides here, but I would suggest your argument takes one view without acknowledging the existence of others. Sure this language deals with qualifications for office, but it also deals with process for developing district boundaries free of personal political motivations. It reminds me of the “single subject rule” of the IL constitution (requiring bills to be confined to a single subject). It all depends on how one reads something. Surely advocates for the redistricting amendment will argue this all deals with process and structure, with the provision you highlight going to ensuring a process free of personal agendas. If the qualification for office language were entirely unrelated — e.g., nobody can run for office if they lived overseas during the past four years — you would be correct that it could not be viewed as process and structure. Again, two ways to look at this, and I’m not arguing for either one.


  15. - Bill White - Friday, May 2, 14 @ 1:23 pm:

    Whether or not this is a problem, a severability clause would have been prudent

    FWIW, without such a clause, I don’t believe the courts can delete the parts they find unconstitutional and allow the remainder to be put on the ballot.

    Which is unfortunate because this measure is a small step forward.


  16. - Rich Miller - Friday, May 2, 14 @ 1:27 pm:

    I don’t think severability is a viable option here.


  17. - Blah - Friday, May 2, 14 @ 1:44 pm:

    #1: Plain and simple, the redistricting proposal is not limited to the Legislative Article. You may wish it was, but it is not. It impacts the qualifications of those eligible to run and be elected as executive officers and judges. It is not simply limited to the legislature.

    #2: Severability is a concept used in legislation, but not a constitution. You include a severability clause if you have a concern that the language may be “unconstitutional.” You don’t have that same issue with an actual constitution. This is a prime example why a constitution establishes a framework, not the specifics for items that should be subject to legislation.

    #3: No one seems to saying a word about the fact that unpaid, non-governmental types with no reapportionment experience are not going to be the ones sitting in front of a computer drawing districts. They are going to hire staff, high paid staff, who will have their own interests. What about the provision in the proposal that gives this group of commissioners the ability to hire their own lawyers to defend these maps. In 2023, the law firms will be lining up to challenge and defend this because they will not be subjected to the fee cap currently instituted by the Attorney General. This entire proposal is geared toward special interests, but because a bunch of good government groups are behind it everything thinks it’s squeaky clean.


  18. - IsItJuneYet - Friday, May 2, 14 @ 1:47 pm:

    How can a provision in the constitution be held unconstitutional? Severability isn’t an option.


  19. - Blah - Friday, May 2, 14 @ 2:07 pm:

    The redistricting amendment did not have to include the qualification language or dilute the Attorney General’s powers. Without those items, can you make a pretty good argument it is limited to structural and procedural subjects in the Legislative Article.


  20. - Norseman - Friday, May 2, 14 @ 2:40 pm:

    I’ve done a lot of reading on legislative actions, but I haven’t read anything that touched on the issue of a proposed constitutional amendment. Severability is an issue that relates to laws. The laws are judged on their conformance with the ultimate standard - the constitution. As frequently discussed on this blog, the judiciary tries to do what it can to find a law constitutional. That is why they’ll only strike offending portions of a law if possible. Under current law, every law that is passed is severable. Exceptions, inseverability clauses, can be inserted if desired by the GA, as was done with several provisions of the pension reduction bill.

    At issue with the proposed constitutional amendments, these seek to revise the ultimate standard. The courts also have to keep in mind that these proposals were presented by supporters in the manner they preferred. For that reason, I believe the amendments have to be read as and ruled on as a whole. Severability does not apply.


  21. - Walker - Friday, May 2, 14 @ 2:49 pm:

    It’s an argument, but my guess is that this remapping petition will pass muster.

    The term-limits petition, on the other hand, is way out of bounds, misleading, and shouldn’t have a legal chance.

    Of course, I’m often wrong.


  22. - muon - Friday, May 2, 14 @ 2:52 pm:

    Blah, If I understand your sense about qualifications, one cannot create by citizen initiative a constitutional body under the legislative article that requires its members to hold no other office while they serve that body. The ten years actually would not matter in this case. It could be for the one year while they were first meeting and your argument would have to be the same.


  23. - stand - Friday, May 2, 14 @ 3:33 pm:

    -Amendments shall be limited to structural and procedural subjects contained in Article IV-

    The Supremes take this to mean that amendments must meet both structural and procedural requirements at the same time. That’s ridiculous. I read it to mean that amendments are confined to either of those areas. For example, if I told my kids they are only allowed to play in my yard and my neighbors yard, it doesn’t mean they have to play in both at the same time. It means those are the areas in which they are allowed. I highly doubt the framers envisioned it would be so difficult for citizens to get an amendment on the ballot.


  24. - Oswego Willy - Friday, May 2, 14 @ 3:58 pm:

    === I highly doubt the framers envisioned it would be so difficult for citizens to get an amendment on the ballot.===

    lol, you see how it had to be delivered?

    ===The Supremes take this to mean that amendments must meet both structural and procedural requirements at the same time. That’s ridiculous===

    Good luck with that “Ridiculous”. Michael Kasper is making that argument, based on a precedent.

    It’s in the courts, we will see how this gets interpreted.


  25. - stand - Friday, May 2, 14 @ 4:19 pm:

    Oswego Willy

    -lol, you see how it had to be delivered?-

    You made my point. How it had to be delivered was not put in there by the framers. It was put in there by the GA.


  26. - stand - Friday, May 2, 14 @ 4:22 pm:

    -Good luck with that “Ridiculous”. Michael Kasper is making that argument, based on a precedent.-

    My point again. It is based on precedent and not the actual language of the framers.

    Does anyone really believe that the framers thought we needed all this craziness just to get an amendment on the ballot???


  27. - Just The Way It Is One - Friday, May 2, 14 @ 4:23 pm:

    ==And that’s a real problem, no matter what the merits….==

    Spot on.


Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


* Good morning!
* Yesterday's blog posts

Support CapitolFax.com
Visit our advertisers...

...............

...............

...............

...............

...............

...............

...............

...............


Search This Blog...

Search the 98th General Assembly By Bill Number
(example: HB0001)

Search the 98th General Assembly By Keyword

          
        * First-gen Moto G snags Andoid Lollipop update
        * What’s your ideal power button placement? (Poll)
        * [Deal] Dell’s Venue 8 7000 tablet gets a price cut to $349
        * AT&T implementing 30% down payments with Next program on May 28th
        * Google’s Hangouts Chrome app gets update with new interface
        * RealPlayer makers launch new photo cloud back-up app called RealTime
        * Capture the Yeti while skiing in new Android game

        * Apple Watch Bands Land In Retail Stores
        * Fallout necklace leads to more Fallout 4 speculation
        * iPhone 5C With Touch ID Appears On Apple’s Website
        * Sony Xperia Z3+ To Launch In Hong Kong (Rumor)
        * Moto G Android 5.0.2 Lollipop Update Released
        * eBay considering loyalty subscription service to counter Amazon Prime
        * Elecom Announces A New USB 3.1 Multi-Card Reader

        * Danks dinged early as Sox drop third straight
        * Danks dinged early as Sox drop third straight
        * Offense lacking, arms shaky in first home series loss
        * Danks dinged early as Sox drop third straight
        * Indians 5, White Sox 2: A total team loss
        * Sox backstops struggling to find groove at plate
        * White Sox forming 'special' bond in clubhouse

        ...............


        Main Menu
        Home
        Illinois
        YouTube
        Pundit rankings
        Obama
        Subscriber Content
        Durbin
        Burris
        Blagojevich Trial
        Advertising
        Updated Posts
        Polls

        Archives
        May 2015
        April 2015
        March 2015
        February 2015
        January 2015
        December 2014
        November 2014
        October 2014
        September 2014
        August 2014
        July 2014
        June 2014
        May 2014
        April 2014
        March 2014
        February 2014
        January 2014
        December 2013
        November 2013
        October 2013
        September 2013
        August 2013
        July 2013
        June 2013
        May 2013
        April 2013
        March 2013
        February 2013
        January 2013
        December 2012
        November 2012
        October 2012
        September 2012
        August 2012
        July 2012
        June 2012
        May 2012
        April 2012
        March 2012
        February 2012
        January 2012
        December 2011
        November 2011
        October 2011
        September 2011
        August 2011
        July 2011
        June 2011
        May 2011
        April 2011
        March 2011
        February 2011
        January 2011
        December 2010
        November 2010
        October 2010
        September 2010
        August 2010
        July 2010
        June 2010
        May 2010
        April 2010
        March 2010
        February 2010
        January 2010
        December 2009
        November 2009
        October 2009
        September 2009
        August 2009
        July 2009
        June 2009
        May 2009
        April 2009
        March 2009
        February 2009
        January 2009
        December 2008
        November 2008
        October 2008
        September 2008
        August 2008
        July 2008
        June 2008
        May 2008
        April 2008
        March 2008
        February 2008
        January 2008
        December 2007
        November 2007
        October 2007
        September 2007
        August 2007
        July 2007
        June 2007
        May 2007
        April 2007
        March 2007
        February 2007
        January 2007
        December 2006
        November 2006
        October 2006
        September 2006
        August 2006
        July 2006
        June 2006
        May 2006
        April 2006
        March 2006
        February 2006
        January 2006
        December 2005
        April 2005
        March 2005
        February 2005
        January 2005
        December 2004
        November 2004
        October 2004

        Blog*Spot Archives
        November 2005
        October 2005
        September 2005
        August 2005
        July 2005
        June 2005
        May 2005

        Syndication

        RSS Feed 2.0
        Comments RSS 2.0
        WordPress

        Loading


        * New York may boycott the anti-Israel boycotters..
        * Voice of The Southern: The dying deserve a choice..
        * INSIDE WASHINGTON: Health law tax passed along .....
        * Illinois Democrats working on budget without GO.....
        * Budget Crunch Time..
        * Gov. Rauner softens some 'Turnaround Agenda' de.....
        * House panel OKs millionaire tax proposed amendment..


        * Madigan postpones millionaire tax bill after failed vote
        * Gov. Rauner softens some 'Turnaround Agenda' demands
        * 53 people in 9 states sickened after eating raw tuna
        * Illinois moves to downgrade pot possession to a fine
        * 4 people killed in traffic accident near Galena
        * Illinois Democrats working on budget without GOP governor
        * Lawmakers approve extension in medical marijuana program
        * EPA proposes $10M plan to remove tar-like liquids
        * Ex-hospital director pleads guilty to embezzling $700,000
        * States move to reduce time spent on Common Core-based exam

        * Millionaire tax falls short in Illinois House
        * Gov. Rauner softens some 'turnaround agenda' demands amid ongoing budget battle
        * Illinois State Board of Education promises shorter PARCC exam next school year
        * Union bulletin: Gov. Rauner wants wage freeze, vacation and holiday time reductions
        * Illinois Senate approves bill allowing bobcat hunting
        * Senate approves extension of medical marijuana trial program
        * Bill treating marijuana possession like speeding ticket passes Senate
        * Millionaire tax falls short in House
        * State board promises shorter PARCC exam next school year
        * Fired employees of former state Treasurer Dan Rutherford seek back pay, threaten lawsuit

        * Illinois Democrats working on budget without Rauner
        * Illinois Senate votes to OK fines for marijuana possession
        * It's not everyone who has a soap opera character named for him
        * High society: Party for the 606
        * Retired Goldman Sachs partner named board chair at the Shedd


          * 1 dead, 6 wounded in city violence
          * Rauner puts parts of agenda into bill form
          * Boy, 16, charged in shooting of 7-year-old in Morgan Park
          * Curtain rises Saturday on $100 million Riverwalk extension
          * Rauner 'Turnaround' tour not producing results so far
          * Lawsuit: White Sox, Cell owner should have kept couple from being assaulted
          * Life sentence for convict in Hyde Park robbery, attempted assault
          * Report: Illinois college chiefs living in 'fantasy world of lavish perks'
          * Man sentenced for threatening 13-year-old boy
          * Illinois Senate passes marijuana decriminalization bill


          * Emanuel calls on Chicagoans to prevent 'lost generation'
          * Grand Jury Indicts 6 Baltimore Officers In Freddie Gray's Death
          * Inauguration Day: New City Council faces serious financial problems
          * Avian flu outbreak takes poultry producers into uncharted territory
          * C4 will remain open in partnership with County Care
          * The unsung hero of urban planning who made it easy to get around Chicago
          * Illinois advancing measure to divest in companies boycotting Israel
          * Emanuel says no 'three-strike rule' over parks for Riot Fest
          * Charters might move into closed CPS schools
          * Expert panel criticizes medical care at Illinois prisons


          * Millionaire tax falls short in Illinois House
          * Gov. Rauner softens some 'turnaround agenda' demands amid ongoing budget battle
          * Illinois State Board of Education promises shorter PARCC exam next school year
          * Union bulletin: Gov. Rauner wants wage freeze, vacation and holiday time reductions
          * Chris Hembrough and Tom Fitch: Invest in education to better the Illinois workforce
          * Sherman Elliott: Inequities penalize energy consumers
          * Tom Swoik: Education funding at stake in Illinois casino debate
          * Dr. David Fletcher: Wrong focus in Illinois workers' compensation debate
          * Dave Root: Illinois unwisely outsourcing PARCC assessments
          * E.J. Dionne: Progressive frenemies


          * Those who gave for others
          * Open Line
          * 'We just had a letdown'
          * City man guilty of sex act near school
          * Bill Wade
          * Emma Garret
          * Imogene Fisher
          * Charles Dempsey
          * Dale Hirons
          * Irene 'Peg' Mosimann


          * Sen. Cantwell turns Senate divisions on trade to advantage
          * Serena's bid for 20, other things to know about French Open
          * LEADING OFF: Syndergaard, Cole meet up, Jennings tries again
          * Toyota promises to help find cause of Takata airbag defects
          * South Korea court frees Korean Air "nut rage" executive

          * Zopp won’t answer SUPES questions
          * AOPA letter to HHS receives congressional ...
          * IL-Sen: Mark Kirk (R) Gets His Facts Wrong...
          * The 5 most interesting Senate races right now
          * Obama: We're definitely not 'losing' in Ir...
          * Women in Business Q&A: Samantha Fennell, M...
          * Bernard Schoenburg: Lamont to help shape f...
          * Hero Street could get a commemorative coin
          * Black candidates make history in McKeesport
          * A political battle over loans to the milit...

          * Obama's trade agenda clears key Senate hurdle...
          * Zopp won’t answer SUPES questions...
          * Local congressman introduces student-concu......
          * Republicans keep Obama trade agenda alive...

          * Zopp won’t answer SUPES questions...
          * New Labour leader Len Foster says change n......
          * Ernst Introduces Bill to Modernize Former ......

          * “The Driver’s Side” – News From The Motorist’s Perspective
          * Silent Movie Filmed In Uptown A Century Ago Rediscovered, Restored
          * A political cockfight?!?
          * Blowable
          * Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicagolandia
          * Sticking Around The Holiday Weekend? Free Concert At People's Music School
          * Mayor Emanuel swears to uphold Chicago for four more years
          * Illinois Republicans to attempt launch of Rauner's 'Turnaround Agenda' Friday
          * Leftist groups lock arms in Chicago's financial district to protest budget cuts
          * Rockford One of Fastest Shrinking Cities In America


          * IDOT Suspends Non-Emergency Road Work for Memorial Day Holiday Weekend - Lanes Opened to Improve Traffic Flow
          * Illinois State Fire Marshal Recognizes EMS Week
          * IDOT, ISP: Drive Safe, Drive Smart Over Memorial Day Weekend - Click It or Ticket Campaign Continues, New “Driving Dead” Episode Debuts
          * Breakfast Club Fans Can Take Home Movie Memorabilia with Special 30th Anniversary Auction - Theater Chairs from Set of Iconic Movie Up for Sale
          * Honoring Illinois' Fallen - United States and Illinois flags at half-staff from Sunrise to Noon on Monday, May 25, 2015.




              Hosted by MCS SUBSCRIBE to Capitol Fax Advertise Here Mobile Version Contact Rich Miller