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The holes in Quinn’s plan

Wednesday, Aug 31, 2016

* The Tribune on Pat Quinn’s remap reform proposal

In the high court’s ruling last week, it rejected the Independent Maps plan because it extended new duties to the state’s auditor general, going beyond the scope of the one legislative article that can be amended by the citizen initiative process. But the justices did not address other issues that Cook County Judge Diane Larsen also had found unconstitutional, including an expanded role for the high court and changes to the attorney general duties.

Currently, the state Supreme Court plays a role in the tie-breaking process, when they select the names of one Republican and one Democrat who will be chosen at random to end stalemates on the current eight-member redistricting commission, made up equally of House and Senate Republican and Democratic representatives.

Quinn’s argument is that because the state Supreme Court already has a role in redistricting under the legislative article, expanding the court’s role to select a new remap commission would fall under the court’s ruling and be constitutional. But it’s also questionable whether the justices would find the additional duties imposed on them to be constitutional.

Quinn’s proposal also could suffer from its simplicity. The proposal is silent on what would happen if the commission couldn’t reach a seven-member agreement on a new map.

All good points.

* Scott Szala, “an adjunct professor who teaches a course on the state constitution at the University of Illinois law school,” talked to Dan Petrella about the proposal

He said one potential pitfall of Quinn’s idea is that having the Supreme Court appoint the commission’s members and rule on any legal challenges to the map they draw could create conflicts of interest.

There’s also the question of whether assigning a new task to the court would pass constitutional muster, Szala said.

There are other problems, which I mentioned to subscribers this morning.

Your thoughts?

- Posted by Rich Miller        


18 Comments
  1. - Ron Burgundy - Wednesday, Aug 31, 16 @ 10:02 am:

    I agree those are problems. The Court’s reading appears to say any proposal can’t affect the duties of any office, agency or unit of government outside the legislative article in any way. Quinn seems to be hoping for a narrower reading to allow changing the roles of units already “in the game,” but if he’s wrong it’s another 2 years down the drain. The next attempt should try to put forth a plan which does not involve any units outside of the legislative article and see what happens. Is that a practical or feasible thing to do? We’ll see.


  2. - Just Me - Wednesday, Aug 31, 16 @ 10:02 am:

    This was not a well thought out and detailed plan that addresses all the relevant issues. This is a plan that Quinn threw together over the weekend and is designed to get him some great news coverage. Kudos to Quinn for another well executed press pop.


  3. - Just Me - Wednesday, Aug 31, 16 @ 10:03 am:

    I would have loved to hear Quinn’s answer on why he is in favor of a fair map now, but wasn’t when he was Governor.


  4. - Grand Avenue - Wednesday, Aug 31, 16 @ 10:04 am:

    I think a better idea than Remap reform is to go to make all elections like Chicago Aldermanic elections - everyone in the first round - if someone gets a majority they win, otherwise top 2 in runoff regardless of party - that makes sure that there is a chance of a competitive race every one can vote on in every district even if it is deep blue or deep red.


  5. - Grand Avenue - Wednesday, Aug 31, 16 @ 10:06 am:

    Look at the past Aldermanic election - there were some insanely gerrymandered wards, yet they still had competitive races. The 2nd ward comes to mind which is shaped like a flattened lobster - it had a very competitive first round with 6 interesting candidates and a hard-fought high-dollar runoff as well.


  6. - Doug Simpson - Wednesday, Aug 31, 16 @ 10:07 am:

    I will defend Governor Pat Quinn on this point. I believe that he wants the best for this state. The Citizens Utility Board is one example from early in his career. Anyone who remembers landline phone rates knows what I’m talking about.

    I think the problem of re-mapping and gerrymandering needs to be addressed on a National basis. Perhaps amending the Constitution of the United States of America and make Congressional district align with the U.S. Geological Survey….in perpetuity.

    I’ll hang up and listen for my answer.


  7. - 4 percent - Wednesday, Aug 31, 16 @ 10:12 am:

    So is he focused on two citizen referenda now… Chicago Mayor and remap…

    @Doug… Quinn’s finger is stuck in the air and he’s trying to take advantage of the political winds. He’s had 30 years in and around power and never was concerned about maps. And as Rich pointed out, his proposal to eliminate multi-member districts (after the legislative pay raise where the public was equally outraged) created this problem.

    I’d much rather him stand up and admit that eliminating multi-member districts was a mistake.


  8. - Winnin' - Wednesday, Aug 31, 16 @ 10:13 am:

    My thoughts are that, as long as human beings are involved, someone is going to be upset with the process.


  9. - Ron Burgundy - Wednesday, Aug 31, 16 @ 10:24 am:

    -I’ll hang up and listen for my answer.-

    This is a state issue and has nothing to do with Congressional districts.


  10. - Norseman - Wednesday, Aug 31, 16 @ 10:27 am:

    My thoughts:

    - Pat Quinn go away.
    - Rich, I’m sure your idea is more thoughtful.
    - Don’t be naive to suggest that Quinn should not have signed the Dem maps. Do you think Rauner would veto a GOP map plan? Rauner is playing the partisan game like everyone else.


  11. - Dee Lay - Wednesday, Aug 31, 16 @ 10:30 am:

    Doug -
    Won’t get congressional looks because the GOP is scared of losing their majority again.

    Ron - You missed the point, this is bigger than IL and should be seen that way instead of having these remap initiatives pushed in states with blue legislatures.


  12. - interesting - Wednesday, Aug 31, 16 @ 10:35 am:

    It is fascinating the media is ripping holes in Quinn’s plan, but they never pointed to a single problem with independent maps (Rich excluded)even though the plans have many similarities.

    The independent map proposal’s commission was 11 members, with possibly 7 from one political party - 2 GOP, 2 appointed by GOP legislative leaders, and 3 “unaffiliated” who could lean GOP. It’s not much different from Quinn’s proposed structure. Both require 7 votes.

    The independent map proposal involved the supreme court too. They would appoint a special master if the commission didn’t draw a map.


  13. - Michelle Flaherty - Wednesday, Aug 31, 16 @ 10:35 am:

    I’m faced with a real struggle today.
    Which do I care less about?
    Pat Quinn’s ideas in 2016 or the Peoria Journal Star’s editorials?


  14. - Armchair lawyer - Wednesday, Aug 31, 16 @ 10:44 am:

    The Quinn proposal does not change the criteria for drawing the map. That’s a huge difference.


  15. - muon - Wednesday, Aug 31, 16 @ 10:45 am:

    Dee Lay - Last year after a long push the Republican majority in Ohio’s legislature agreed to put a redistricting reform proposal on the ballot. It was a bipartisan compromise and passed by the voters. It was pressure from citizen groups and initiatives that got the job done in a red-controlled state. The reform push is not exclusive to blue states.


  16. - anon - Wednesday, Aug 31, 16 @ 10:51 am:

    === It is fascinating the media is ripping holes in Quinn’s plan, but they never pointed to a single problem with independent maps (Rich excluded)even though the plans have many similarities. ===

    Politics means a proposal is evaluated based upon who proposes it instead of based upon the substance.


  17. - Juice - Wednesday, Aug 31, 16 @ 11:19 am:

    Man, for all those people criticizing Quinn for signing the current map, I didn’t realize you were that excited to see Jesse White pull a name out of a hat.


  18. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Aug 31, 16 @ 12:39 pm:

    ===It is fascinating the media is ripping holes in Quinn’s plan, but they never pointed to a single problem with independent maps ===

    Don’t know how it is in other states, but reform groups are rarely criticized or critiqued in the media here.


Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


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