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Rauner group files appeal in term limits case

Wednesday, Jul 30, 2014

* Not much info out of the AP’s Chicago bureau

A group pushing for lawmaker term limits has filed a court appeal to get their question on November’s ballot.

The Committee for Legislative Reform and Term Limits filed a motion Tuesday with Illinois’ First District Appellate Court asking it to reverse a June Cook County Circuit Court ruling.

The circuit court said the measure didn’t meet constitutional requirements and ruled it invalid.

Committee spokesman Mark Campbell believes the appellate court can rule in the group’s favor.

Click here to see the full appeal.

* One of the main arguments advanced by Bruce Rauner’s group is that the IL Supreme Court upheld Pat Quinn’s 1980 “Cutback Amendment,” which did three things: Abolished cumulative voting, reduced the size of the House and instituted single-member districts. Rauner’s group argues that its multitude of issues (veto powers, term limits and reducing the size of the Senate while increasing the size of the House) should be viewed as similar to Quinn’s push.

The Supremes have ruled previously (on another Pat Quinn initiative) that term limits involved neither a structural change of the Legislature as an institution, nor a procedural legislative issue - the only two things that can be changed via citizens referendum. The Rauner folks get around that ruling thusly

(T)he amendment here does not merely limit legislative terms in isolation. Rather it changes the entire structure of legislative terms… incorporating term limits as an integrated element of this larger structural change. […]

All the [Pat Quinn term limits case] did was to rule that one particular term limits proposal, in isolation, affected invidual legislators and not the structure of the institution as a whole. That cannot be said of the present proposal, in which term limits are simply one part of the package of structural reforms.

Discuss.

- Posted by Rich Miller        


9 Comments
  1. - DuPage - Wednesday, Jul 30, 14 @ 12:23 pm:

    Probably will lose in court, but will get publicity, keep it in the mind of the voter.


  2. - ChrisB - Wednesday, Jul 30, 14 @ 12:25 pm:

    Man, Quinn should just add this to the long list of non-binding citizen resolutions we all get to vote on in November. What difference does it make?

    I mean, after all, it’s what he said yesterday. “Our democracy is strongest when more voters make their voices heard about important matters of public policy.”

    And we all know that these resolutions aren’t a cynical political ploy, but an honest-to-goodness effort to listen to the people of Illinois.

    /snark


  3. - Black Ivy - Wednesday, Jul 30, 14 @ 12:35 pm:

    Governor Quinn is running as fast as he can away from the term limit debate. Ain’t nothin’ helpful for him in attempting to limit his ability to hold office, so he’ll just keep it movin’ when it comes to this. #raunersplantolimittermsmakestoomuchsense


  4. - Jimbo - Wednesday, Jul 30, 14 @ 1:19 pm:

    Ivy, the term limit proposal doesn’t affect the Gov’s office. The current election might, but not the proposed amendment.


  5. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Jul 30, 14 @ 1:44 pm:

    Appeals are swell…

    But spin all you want, the Constitution and case law is pretty clear.

    Meh. It gins up a base of some sort that ate ignorant to the history.


  6. - VanillaMan - Wednesday, Jul 30, 14 @ 2:20 pm:

    Keep it in the news?
    That’s a win for Rauner.


  7. - walker - Wednesday, Jul 30, 14 @ 3:07 pm:

    Quite a stretch for an argument.

    Somehow term limits and gubernatorial veto requirements are integral to the size of the House — or vice versa, or however you want to argue that all three are one integrated package of structural change. They are three interesting but separate ideas, not structurally dependent on each other in any way. The packaging was a legal sham, and misleading to the public, no matter how effective it has been politically.

    I thought Judge Mikva only stopped with six strong arguments against the petition, in her decision, and passed on at least two other reasons for rejection, so as not to beat an obviously dead horse.

    And yes, a win for Rauner to keep it in the news.


  8. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Wednesday, Jul 30, 14 @ 11:16 pm:

    Bruce Rauner is arguing that a corn dog is a vegetable.

    “We know that the Constitution says that citizen amendments can only affect the structure or procedure of the legislature, neither of which term limits does, so we have integrated it into some structural and procedural changes.”

    In other words:

    “I know you said you are a vegetarian, so we wrapped your hot dog in corn.”

    How many of the Republicans backed by Rauner this cycle have taken a pledge to serve only eight years if elected?

    I am guessing Zero.


  9. - walker - Thursday, Jul 31, 14 @ 8:31 am:

    The only interesting legal question is can it move forward with the term limits section removed? Are the parts separable?

    Of course that loses its political campaign impact, and they don’t make such an argument.


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