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Supreme Court denies HB40-related appeal

Wednesday, Mar 20, 2019

* Once again, the majority did not issue an opinion. From Justice Bob Thomas’ dissent

In this case, plaintiffs challenged the passage of Public Act 100-538 (eff. Jan. 1, 2018), which amended the Illinois Public Aid Code to reverse the prohibition on funding of elective abortions by the State of Illinois’s Medicaid system. Plaintiffs argued that the appropriation of funds in furtherance of Public Act 100-538 violated section 2(b) of article VIII of the Illinois Constitution (Ill. Const. 1970, art. VIII, § 2(b)), as well as section 4(a) of the Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability Act (the Act) (25 ILCS 155/4(a) (West 2016)), because the General Assembly did not adopt a revenue estimate that covered the costs of the services proposed by the bill that became Public Act 100-538. The appellate court affirmed dismissal of the plaintiffs claim, finding that it was a “political question” that was not justiciable. 2018 IL App (4th) 180005-U, ii 49. A majority of this court denies plaintiffs petition for leave to appeal before this court.

The issue of what constitutes the parameters of the political-question doctrine is of such vital importance that it should be resolved by the Supreme Court of Illinois and not simply left to the appellate court to grapple with. In the leading case describing the doctrine, the United States Supreme Court observed that the political-question doctrine is “one of ‘political questions,’ not one of ‘political cases,’ “and “[t]he courts cannot reject as ‘no law suit’ a bona fide controversy as to whether some action denominated ‘political’ exceeds constitutional authority.” Here, the appellate court concluded that the legislature’s compliance with section 2(b) of article VIII of our constitution and section 4(a) of the Act is a political question and therefore not justiciable. That conclusion is undoubtedly of sufficient importance to the people of the state of Illinois as to compel this court’s review. I would therefore grant the petition.

JUSTICES KILBRIDE and BURKE join in this dissent.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

9 Comments
  1. - Demoralized - Wednesday, Mar 20, 19 @ 2:09 pm:

    The argument was a losing argument to begin with in my opinion. They were essentially saying that if you don’t identify a specific revenue source for a specific expenditure then you are in violation of the law, which is absurd. That’s not how you budget, nor should it be.


  2. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Mar 20, 19 @ 2:14 pm:

    What’s with the majority silence on two hot cases? For crying out loud, justices, justify.


  3. - Perrid - Wednesday, Mar 20, 19 @ 2:18 pm:

    wordslinger made me laugh.

    I agree, it should be (or should become) common practice to write something describing why they did or did not decide to hear a case. I mean, a 4-3 opinion on a political grenade doesn’t warrant a 1 paragraph discussion?


  4. - Grand Avenue - Wednesday, Mar 20, 19 @ 2:23 pm:

    The Supreme Court virtually never issues an opinion on denying Petitions for Leave for Appeal.


  5. - Commonsense in Illinois - Wednesday, Mar 20, 19 @ 2:35 pm:

    Not to change the subject too much…

    Memo to Justice Thomas: I hear the Bears are looking for a kicker.

    Just think about it…


  6. - Perrid - Wednesday, Mar 20, 19 @ 2:37 pm:

    Grand Avenue, just because it is that way doesn’t mean it should be that way.


  7. - TominChicago - Wednesday, Mar 20, 19 @ 2:50 pm:

    Perrid. To paraphrase Justice Robert Jackson: They are not final because they are infallible, but they are infallible only because they are final.


  8. - JoanP - Wednesday, Mar 20, 19 @ 4:12 pm:

    @Perrid -

    Do you have any idea how many PLAs come before the Court? The most recent PLA docket had 271 cases on it. And that wasn’t the only docket this month, And you want written decisions in every case?


  9. - West Side the Best Side - Wednesday, Mar 20, 19 @ 4:33 pm:

    The Supremes should always be judging what appears before them based on the merits of the individual case, not whether it’s a political grenade or hot case. It may not always happen, but it always should.


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