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Remap group demands rehearing

Wednesday, Aug 31, 2016

* Press release…

The Independent Maps coalition on Wednesday filed a petition asking the Illinois Supreme Court to reconsider its recent ruling denying voters the ability to vote this November on the proposed constitutional amendment to require a transparent, impartial and fair process of drawing legislative maps.

By a 4 to 3 party line division, the Supreme Court ruled that the Independent Map Amendment is not in line with the Illinois Constitution’s requirement for amendments proposed by voters. Under the Supreme Court’s rules, Independent Maps has the right to point out argument the majority of the Court overlooked or misapprehended and to ask it to reconsider its ruling and its reasoning. Four votes are required to grant rehearing.

“We believe the four justices in the majority were wrong and inconsistent in their reasoning and would reach a different conclusion if they consider, as they have in all other similar cases, the legislative debates from the 1969-70 constitutional convention,” said Dennis FitzSimons, Chair of Independent Maps. “More than 563,000 Illinois voters signed Independent Map Amendment petitions, and we owe it to them and thousands of volunteers across the state to make every possible effort to convince the Court that the amendment deserves to be placed before voters in November.”

The petition includes the following arguments in favor of a rehearing:

    Ø The four justices in the majority said that their decision was compelled by the “plain language” of the Illinois Constitution, which states that voters can propose a constitutional amendment only if the amendment is “limited to structural and procedural subjects contained in” the article dealing with the legislature. However, the majority completely ignored Independent Maps’ “plain language” argument explaining why the amendment meets that requirement. Because each provision in the proposed amendment is limited to redistricting and because redistricting is a “structural and procedural subject,” there should be no doubt that the amendment is properly limited to a “structural and procedural subject.”

    Ø Even if the majority’s strained construction of “structural and procedural” is one reasonable way to look at that section, the interpretation by Independent Maps is reasonable, too. That means that the constitutional provision is at least ambiguous and the court must look to the legislative history to decide which interpretation the framers intended. The four justices in the majority ignored the legislative history, which clearly indicates that redistricting is one of the “critical” areas the framers had in mind when they created the provision allowing voters to propose amendments to the constitution. “They ignored the debates during the constitutional convention, which show that the ‘limited to’ language was designed to prevent initiatives from being used as a subterfuge to address controversial subjects like taxes, abortion and the death penalty,” FitzSimons said. “Our amendment does exactly what the framers intended to allow citizens to do – propose meaningful redistricting reform. The majority’s refusal even to consider the legislative history is unprecedented in cases like this.”

    Ø At a minimum, the Supreme Court should reconsider its ruling that a citizen-initiated amendment cannot include the Auditor General as a participant in the redistricting process, and it should reconsider its decision to postpone for another day any discussion of the other issues plaintiffs prevailed on in the trial court. Because the majority opinion is limited to a single issue, it fails to provide the citizens of Illinois with any guidance about whether a redistricting initiative is even permissible, let alone guidance about what the permissible contours of such an initiative would be.

“The majority opinion is inconsistent,” FitzSimons said. “At one point, it says that the Auditor General can’t be involved because that office is not now part of the legislative article of the constitution, but at another point, it suggests a redistricting initiative could use a non-legislative actor to help select a redistricting commission. Which is it? Without clear guidance, no one will be willing to invest the time, effort and money necessary to put a genuine redistricting reform initiative on the ballot.”

The link accompanying the press release for the full petition for reconsideration is here, but it’s not working as I write this.

- Posted by Rich Miller        


24 Comments
  1. - anon - Wednesday, Aug 31, 16 @ 10:12 am:

    If the Democratic majority is in fact, as critics contend, bound and determined to prevent any GOP-backed initiative from reachng the ballot, then that same majority won’t be willing to provide a roadmap about how to get such an initiative on the ballot.


  2. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Aug 31, 16 @ 10:13 am:

    ===More than 563,000 Illinois voters signed Independent Map Amendment…===

    The number of signatures isn’t compelling enough if the language itself doesn’t pass constitutional muster.

    What, if something gets over 562,999 signatures, no matter the legal ground, it should be… considered?

    Ugh.

    Argue with legality not arbitrary benchmarks that have no legal standing.


  3. - argh - Wednesday, Aug 31, 16 @ 10:13 am:

    Yet more evidence this is nothing more than a political stunt.


  4. - argh - Wednesday, Aug 31, 16 @ 10:15 am:

    Oswego Willy is right. They’ve spent more than $500,000 in legal bills and their lawyers can’t come up with an actual legal argument.


  5. - Ghost - Wednesday, Aug 31, 16 @ 10:19 am:

    The use of press releases and political insults about party biasis has paved the way for this rehearing….. much like spitting on your neighbor before asking to borrow their mower.


  6. - Ron Burgundy - Wednesday, Aug 31, 16 @ 10:22 am:

    - “At one point, it says that the Auditor General can’t be involved because that office is not now part of the legislative article of the constitution, but at another point, it suggests a redistricting initiative could use a non-legislative actor to help select a redistricting commission. Which is it?”-

    I’d have to go back and look for this, but if it is accurate it’s a fair question. This petition will be denied, however, so don’t expect an answer.


  7. - Gruntled University Employee - Wednesday, Aug 31, 16 @ 10:26 am:

    I object!

    Judge: Overruled

    Then I Strenuously Object!!


  8. - Dee Lay - Wednesday, Aug 31, 16 @ 10:27 am:

    It must be hard to wash that rauner stink off at the end of the day. Good lord what a crock of baloney.

    “Because the majority opinion is limited to a single issue, it fails to provide the citizens of Illinois with any guidance about whether a redistricting initiative is even permissible, let alone guidance about what the permissible contours of such an initiative would be.”

    If only you read the previous roadmap, you wouldn’t be here now. Here, let me Google that for you: https://www.brennancenter.org/sites/default/files/legal-work/Clark_v_IL_BOE_2014.pdf


  9. - Michelle Flaherty - Wednesday, Aug 31, 16 @ 10:33 am:

    but, but, but we’re reformers!


  10. - anon - Wednesday, Aug 31, 16 @ 10:46 am:

    So why did the independnent map group ignore the roadmap Judge Mikva provided them two years ago? Perhaps blaming partisanship for the loss is easier than answering my question.


  11. - phocion - Wednesday, Aug 31, 16 @ 10:46 am:

    Dee Lay, the “roadmap” you reference was penned by a Cook County Circuit Court Judge. There is no assurance that the Illinois Supreme Court would concur with her recommendation.

    It’s fair to ask the Court for guidance, as the Court in its opinion appeared to suggest that there is a constitutionally permissible way to alter the manner in which legislative districts are drawn. If there really isn’t, the Court should have said so. If there is, the Court needs to let the people in on it. But they won’t.


  12. - interesting - Wednesday, Aug 31, 16 @ 10:56 am:

    ==- phocion - Wednesday, Aug 31, 16 @ 10:46 am:

    Dee Lay, the “roadmap” you reference was penned by a Cook County Circuit Court Judge. There is no assurance that the Illinois Supreme Court would concur with her recommendation.

    It’s fair to ask the Court for guidance, as the Court in its opinion appeared to suggest that there is a constitutionally permissible way to alter the manner in which legislative districts are drawn. If there really isn’t, the Court should have said so. If there is, the Court needs to let the people in on it. But they won’t. ==

    That’s not the role of a court. They don’t give advisory opinions.


  13. - Chicago Cynic - Wednesday, Aug 31, 16 @ 11:02 am:

    Gruntled is right. This is just “I strenuously object!” Yea, that ought to work. Why did they waste their time.


  14. - phocion - Wednesday, Aug 31, 16 @ 11:07 am:

    interesting,
    How long have you practiced law? Courts regularly give the sort of guidance sought by the petitioners. A court won’t, however, give an actual opinion on a case unless the matter is before the court. In fact the majority opinion noted that it was possible for the Court to render some guidance, but expressly chose not to. “…, we need not consider the remaining arguments on appeal, including the parties’ invitation to determine whether any hypothetical ballot initiative addressing the redistricting process could be constitutional. Accordingly, we leave that question for another day.”

    Perhaps you were confused, interesting.


  15. - phocion - Wednesday, Aug 31, 16 @ 11:15 am:

    One more thing, interesting. If it’s “not the role of the court” to provide the sort of direction the Fair Map folks are seeking, how does that square with Judge Mikva’s roadmap in her opinion?


  16. - sloman2001 - Wednesday, Aug 31, 16 @ 11:33 am:

    I guess the words “of the people, by the people, and for the people” means nothing in Illinois. It is “of the politicians, for the politicians, and by the politicians”. Just another reason people leave Illinois.


  17. - walker - Wednesday, Aug 31, 16 @ 11:41 am:

    They want a rehearing because the majority opinion apparently did not “apprehend” the arguments they made the first time around? Huh?

    This is a face-saving move, to show their constituents they really thought they had a winnable case. Agree they presented a legitimate argument, but it was heard and did not prevail.


  18. - Chicago_Downstater - Wednesday, Aug 31, 16 @ 1:14 pm:

    @phocion

    They were given a “road map” by a lower court and completely ignored it. Since giving such guidance is optional and the plaintiff has already demonstrated an unwillingness to follow advisory opinions, I see nothing wrong with the Court not issuing another “road map.”

    Now if the plaintiff had followed Judge Mikva’s advice and the language was still struck down by the Court, then I’d expect a new advisory opinion. But, as it stands, I file this under the plaintiff showed contempt for judicial advice in the past and is reaping their reward in the present.


  19. - Interesting - Wednesday, Aug 31, 16 @ 2:38 pm:

    @phocion: Illinois courts do not render advisory opinions to guide future litigation. It’s been the rule of law in Illinois since its inception. Pointing to Mikva’s opinion doesn’t make it proper. With all due respect to her, she’s a circuit court judge who ruling on a very public issue. Her remarks were nothing more than her view. Her “roadmap” was dicta and has no precedential value.

    To my point, the $1000 an hour lawyers at Mayer know all of this.


  20. - lake county democrat - Wednesday, Aug 31, 16 @ 2:56 pm:

    Motions for reconsideration are hopeless - nearly every one is frivolous.

    There was no “road map” - the Supreme Court didn’t adopt Mikva’s arguments against Kasper from the last case, they refused to rule of them, allowing them to use those arguments to invalidate the next petition should there be one.


  21. - lake county democrat - Wednesday, Aug 31, 16 @ 2:59 pm:

    Her Article IV ruling - which I can find no legal commentator who agreed with at the time or agrees with now that the IL Supreme Court - who avoided ruling on it before by running out the clock - adopted it. You can say it was dumb not to avoid it, but the majority has acted so partisan for over 4 years now that you can tell it wouldn’t have made a difference.


  22. - Norseman - Wednesday, Aug 31, 16 @ 3:07 pm:

    Gruntled University Employee, hat tip. The first thing that popped into my head, but you beat me to it.


  23. - Ask the professor - Wednesday, Aug 31, 16 @ 6:47 pm:

    Maybe in between AMAJ articles, POTUS can weigh in on why his State of The Union injunction was ignored by his own State’s SC Justices.


  24. - Norseman - Wednesday, Aug 31, 16 @ 6:52 pm:

    Maybe you should should ask the professor to explain the difference between federal and state law and authority.


Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


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