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!
* Ginning up the base
* 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

          
        * Samsung announces the Galaxy A5 and Galaxy A3, its “slimmest smartphones to date”
        * Samsung announces ultra-thin Galaxy A5 and Galaxy A3
        * Metal unibody phones Samsung Galaxy A3, A5 get official announcements
        * Latest Q3 2014 IDC figures show Xiaomi now 3rd in smartphones shipped
        * In The Best Conditions, iOS-Exclusive Vainglory Is A Top-Notch MOBA
        * Xiaomi sees meteoric rise to number three global smartphone OEM
        * HTC is making a mistake by not making the One M8 Eye broadly available

        * Ambulance Drone Could Help Save Heart Attack Victims
        * Ampy Wearable Battery Juices Itself Up Via Kinetic Energy
        * Bistro Face Recognition Food Bowl For Feline Lovers
        * Unsticker.Me Gets Rid of Stickers from Your Facebook Feed
        * Take Out Your Frustrations on These Anti-Stress Rubber Mushrooms
        * Cover Your Laptop’s Camera, Protect Your Privacy with CameraBadge
        * Now This is Handy: Hair Drying Gloves

        * Minnie Miñoso belongs in the Hall of Fame
        * Development of young core in '15 can define Chicago's future
        * Abreu leads White Sox GIBBY hopefuls with five noms
        * Allen, Wills among new faces on Hall's Golden Era ballot
        * The offseason begins with a new Chicago manager and old arguments
        * World Series Game 7: Notes and discussion
        * Guillen, White Sox look back on '05 championship


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

        Archives
        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


        * Why I'm voting for Pat Quinn - Chicago Tribune..
        * Gov. Quinn visited Triton College on Oct. 28 - .....


        * 3 killed when train strikes SUV
        * Waukegan teachers approve contract ending strike
        * 2 killed, 8 injured in construction zone wreck
        * Suburban judge attacked by inmate in courtroom
        * Man charged in death of Rockford attorney in crash
        * Inmate freed in landmark Illinois case
        * Social issues take backseat in governor's race
        * Illinois basketball court not damaged by water
        * Quinn, Rauner pick up newspaper endorsements
        * Judge won't sentence absent former Ohio official

        * Attorney general seeks clarifications from Topinka’s former nonprofit
        * Inmate freed from Jacksonville prison in landmark Illinois case
        * Cross opposes income tax hike extension
        * Gay marriage, abortion issues take back seat in governor’s race
        * Madigan’s office seeks clarifications from former Topinka nonprofit
        * Cross says no to income tax hike extension, sales tax on services
        * Gay marriage, abortion issues take backseat in governor’s race
        * Illinois inmate freed in landmark capital punishment case
        * Rauner says women will decide governor's race
        * Judge denies ex-representative new bribery trial

        * Lake Shore Drive ramps by McCormick Place set for early 2015 construction
        * Groupon forecast falls short of estimates
        * Groupon mulls overseas options as forecast falls short
        * Groupon hires advisers top find partners for Asia businesses
        * Groupon hires advisers to find partners for Asia businesses


        * Garcia: I'm a serious mayoral candidate, not just a protest vote
        * A higher standard of criminal justice
        * Ex-Northwestern doctor to pay $475K to settle fraud claims
        * Sad day  when  Catholic  schools  close
        * Chicago bead merchant Ronnie Klein, whose Loop business drew stars, dead at 65
        * Chicago bead merchant Ronnie Klein, whose Loop business drew stars, dead at 65
        * Durbin, Oberweis square off for final time
        * State’s attorney investigating alderman’s prize offer to voters
        * Face it: Animator has found a great way to pass time on his commute
        * Refund those unfair yellow-light tickets


        * Alleged lieutenant of drug kingpin 'El Chapo' seeks minimum prison term
        * Installation begins on Wallenda's tightrope over Chicago River
        * Off-duty police officer beaten and robbed in the Loop
        * Teen wounded in Morgan Park shooting, at least 3 others injured across city
        * Waukegan district, teachers come to terms after monthlong strike
        * Judge again orders Crystal Lake South bleachers to come down
        * Naperville high school cancels activities after bomb threat
        * Officials: Defendant in Maywood court attacked judge
        * Rauner, Quinn squabble over who deserves credit for digital lab
        * Coroner: Body buried in Indiana is missing relative of dead woman, slain man


        * Prisoner Freed After Recanting Testimony "Angry"
        * The Choice Of Choice: Gov. Candidates On Abortion
        * Group Has A Goal Of Improving Access To Preschool In Macon County
        * Turn out for what? Will young voters make it to the polls, or stay home as usual?
        * As Infrastructure Crumbles, Trillions Of Gallons Of Water Lost
        * Authorities: Springfield Woman's BAC Three Times The Legal Limit
        * 2014 Election Coverage: Citizens, here's your homework!
        * Aldermen skip chance to ask about city’s handling of police commander
        * Immigrant Rights Groups: Demand Oustrips Slots For Driver's Licenses
        * U-S Senate Candidates Differ On Ebola Response And More


        * Esther Cepeda: Elizabeth Pena: Trailblazer on the big screen
        * Andy Shaw: Voter turnout instrumental to reform
        * Ty Fahner: What if the Court rejects pension reform?
        * Attorney general seeks clarifications from Topinka’s former nonprofit
        * Quote of the Day: Friday, Oct. 31
        * Inmate freed from Jacksonville prison in landmark Illinois case
        * Cross opposes income tax hike extension
        * Gay marriage, abortion issues take back seat in governor’s race
        * Illinois inmate freed in landmark capital punishment case
        * Rauner says women will decide governor's race


        * Big Ten update: Big weekend for Beckman
        * Road to Champaign: In-state commits prep for playoffs
        * Thursday's prep highlights: Schlarman claims regional
        * Prairie Capital can be home away from home
        * Central snaps Centennial's run
        * O'Toole acts with a touch of humor
        * Campaigns go into overdrive this weekend
        * Final debate brings up new issues for 13th District candidates
        * Letter: Special education on the wrong track
        * Letter: Murrayville reunion a wonderful event


        * Schaumburg tops Niles West for regional championship
        * Hossa hits milestone where it all began
        * Focused Cary-Grove a regional champ
        * Harvest Christian wins 4th straight volleyball regional
        * Parties, PACs pouring money into 56th District race

        * Patrick Cannon defense strategy rare but n...
        * Feds fine Jesse Jackson Jr.'s campaign com...
        * Ex-Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr. faces sen...
        * Representative Jan Schakowsky Sends Letter...
        * Rep. candidate pushes to uphold marriage b...
        * Reps. Schakowsky and Waxman Introduce Bill...
        * Statement by Representative Jan Schakowsky...
        * U.S. House Passes Resolution Condemning An...
        * FAA Rejects Call For New O'Hare Noise Stud...
        * Representatives Quigley, Duckworth, Schako...

        * Election 2014 Endorsements...
        * Election 2014 Endorsements...
        * Election 2014 Endorsements...
        * Election 2014 Endorsements...
        * Election 2014 Endorsements...

        * How first lady, Rauner factor into their p......
        * Celeb Spotting...
        * ISIS Has More Land, Money, and Fighters Th......
        * A Republican Senate Victory Could Splinter......
        * Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago Celebr......

        * Poll: Downstate Could Go Either Way In Guv's Race
        * South Siders To Rally For Trauma Center Outside U of C Gala
        * Op-Ed: Google Car Gives The Blind More Independence While Saving Illinois Millions
        * Google Car
        * DNA Info: Englewood Whole Foods Developers Looking for More Tenants
        * Sorry Mark Brown but I don't think it is about the money...
        * Waukegan Teachers Reach Deal With Board Of Ed
        * Waukegan Teachers Reach Deal With Board Of Ed (UPDATED)
        * You think the Hinsdale board was crappy to teachers? Look at what they are doing to plow over the support staff.
        * Mark Anderson: Chicago progressives have an embarrassment of riches.


        * Editorial: Rauner best choice as governor to begin to reverse Illinois’ fortunes
        * Quinn to celebrate Rauner’s UI Labs accomplishment
        * Another Democrat Runs Away From Pat Quinn
        * Governor Pat Quinn Statement on Tentative Agreement to End Waukegan Teacher Strike, Return Students to Classrooms - State Education Chief Worked Overnight to Reach Common Ground, Students Heading Back to School on Monday
        * Governor Quinn Joins UI LABS to Break Ground on New Digital Manufacturing Hub - Digital Manufacturing and Design Innovation Institute Set to Open in 2015, Create Jobs




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