* Click here for background if you need it. Press release…
The Senate and House Redistricting Committees today released a proposed map of new Illinois Supreme Court boundaries to bring them into compliance with the Illinois Constitution by reflecting population shifts over the nearly 60 years since the map was last drawn in 1963.
“This map is about equal representation in the state’s most important court,” said Rep. Lisa Hernandez, Chair of the House Redistricting Committee. “As we strive for all to be equal before the law, we must ensure we all have an equal voice in choosing those who uphold it.”
Under this proposal, the number of residents in the Second, Third, Fourth and Fifth Supreme Court districts will be substantially equalized to better reflect the population and demographic shifts that have occurred in the state of Illinois over the course of the last sixty years. Currently, population fluctuates greatly between districts. For instance, the Second District contains 3.2 million people, while the Fourth and Fifth Districts contain under 1.3 million people.
“The boundaries for Illinois Supreme Court districts have not been updated for several decades, it’s time we make changes in recognition of the population changes and demographic shifts that have taken place since the 1960s,” said Sen. Omar Aquino, Chair of the Senate Redistricting Committee. “Illinois is a very different state than it was sixty years ago, and the voters of Illinois deserve to elect members to our state’s highest court that reflect their values.”
This new map will not impact the tenure of the current Appellate and Supreme Court justices. All justices running for retention will have the right to do so in their current districts. Further, this map avoids disruption to the Judicial Branch by ensuring that the Appellate Courts can remain where they currently reside and avoid changing the compositions or boundaries of the Judicial Circuits.
Consistent with the proposed legislative maps, this proposed map was drafted using population information from the American Community Survey’s (ACS) 5-year estimate for 2019. The ACS estimate varies by just 0.3 percent from the state’s official population count released by the U.S. Census Bureau in April.
The public has the opportunity to provide input on this proposed map at four scheduled redistricting committee hearings between the House and the Senate this week. To view the proposed map, visit www.ilsenateredistricting.com or www.ilhousedems.com/redistricting.
* Click here to see the Google Map version…
…Adding… Either they have a typo, or this was written last Friday and not sent…
Tonight, following the legislature’s release of a new map for the Illinois Supreme Court, the first time this has happened in 50 years, Chairman of Citizens for Judicial Fairness Jim Nowlan released the following statement:
“Forget Congress. Forget the legislature. The one issue that sends shivers up the spines of Cook County Democrats is loss of their unbroken, six-decade long control of the partisan Illinois Supreme Court. Not even Mike Madigan can claim that record.
And now that their control is threatened, Democrats in Springfield displayed a breathtakingly cynical effort to retain that control, when they unveiled a new gerrymandering of Illinois Supreme Court districts days before the end of the legislative session with no public hearings or input to date.
If this thus-far secret map, long rumored in the back alleys of Springfield Democratic circles, goes through this coming week, indeed this year, it will strongly suggest the new Democratic regime in the state capitol may be even worse than the old one.”
Moments ago and just a couple hours before sham redistricting hearings are set to begin in Springfield, Democrats have released their new district map for the Illinois Supreme Court. Illinois Republican Party Spokesman Joe Hackler released the following statement in response:
“Today’s announcement of the redrawing of the Illinois Supreme Court map is the latest example of the extraordinary lengths the corrupt political class will go to keep control of power. For the first time in the state’s history, a Supreme Court justice was removed from the Court because of his ties to the Democrat machine. Now, in an effort to maintain their stranglehold on the Supreme Court and thwart much needed reform, that same corrupt political class is rigging the maps to stay in power, redrawing the map for the first time in fifty years. This is a brazen abuse of our judicial system and nothing more than political gamesmanship with what should be an independent court, free of corrupt influence.”
* Greg Hinz…
The most significant changes are in the two districts coving the Chicago metropolitan area outside of Cook County.
One of the new districts covers the northern and western suburbs and a bit of rural territory, running north to the Wisconsin state line and west past DeKalb. Excluded is GOP territory further west that is in the current district.
The other, largely remade district covers the southern suburbs and the Joliet area, but extends to largely rural and lightly populated areas south of Kankakee and west to central Illinois. Democrats presumably think that can win that area, too.
…Adding… Press release…
Statement from John Pastuovic, President of the Illinois Civil Justice League, on Judicial Remap Proposal
“It is clear to me that the Democrats have initiated this first in 50-year judicial remap in reaction to their third district retention loss in 2020 and concern that they could lose that seat to the Republicans in 2022. For example, when looking a party identification voting data, the current third district gives Republicans about a 55 to 45 percent advantage while the new map gives the Republicans a slight 51 to 49 percent advantage.
Additionally, the new second district is a 50-50 toss-up using the same voting data. Since the Democrats only have to win one of those seats to maintain their majority on the court, Las Vegas would probably like their odds.
Calling for a new Supreme Court maps because of a population disparity is a convenient narrative. It is also disingenuous.”
The population changes in the new map bring the judicial districts within the threshold of substantially equal, with a total average deviation from the mean of 4.425 percent.
The map drawers paid particular attention to the historic nature of the Mt. Vernon, Springfield, and Ottawa appellate court locations, as well as keeping the original circuit breakdowns from the 1897 reapportionment whole, with just the divisions in circuits over the 125-history of the circuit map.
Newly appointed Second District Justice Michael Burke will likely run in the Third District in 2022, his home is in DuPage County and makes up roughly 48 percent of the new Third District. Will County is now 35 percent of the Third District, whereas before it represented almost 39 percent.
The tough job politically is managing the retentions in 2022, where longtime Third District Justices Tom Lytton (D-Rock Island) and Daniel Schmidt (R-Peoria) are up and live a long way from their district.
In the Fourth District, Justice Rita Garman’s home is now in the new Fifth District and she will need to move west to qualify for her 2022 retention. Fourth District Appellate Justice John Turner lives in his revised district and is eligible for a third term on the retention ballot.
There is now an open Supreme Court seat in the new Second District, which was 50-50 in the Attorney General’s race in 2018, and now gives Democrats an opportunity to elect a Democrat from the north and west suburbs. Remapped out of the Second District are Appellate Justices Joe Birkett, who is up for retention, and newly appointed Justice Liam Brennan, who are both from DuPage.
Additionally, several assigned circuit judges, who sit on the appellate courts by assignment, find themselves from circuits outside of the districts, including Winnebago County judge Kathryn Zenoff (Second) and Vermilion County judge Craig DeArmond (Fourth).