* Filed in the US District Court for the Northern District of Illinois…
Plaintiffs bring this lawsuit to protect the fundamental rights of Illinois voters and to invalidate the state legislative redistricting plan passed by the Illinois General Assembly on May 28, 2021 and signed into law by Governor Pritzker on June 4, 2021 (the “Redistricting Plan” or “Plan”). In its zeal to rush a plan through the legislature, the General Assembly drew the legislative districts in the Plan using population estimates derived from a survey rather than waiting a few months for the U.S. Census Bureau (the “Census Bureau” or “Bureau”) to provide redistricting data containing official population counts from the 2020 decennial census. Plaintiffs seek a declaration that the Plan is unconstitutional, invalid, and thus void ab initio. Plaintiffs also seek an order directing Defendants Emanuel Christopher Welch and Don Harmon to appoint members to a bipartisan redistricting commission (“Commission”) per Article IV, Section 3 of the Illinois Constitution, or alternatively granting other appropriate relief that allows for the drafting and implementation of a redistricting plan based on the official 2020 decennial census counts, including appointing a Special Master to draft a valid and lawful redistricting plan. […]
Because it uses ACS estimates for population data, the Redistricting Plan does not ensure that the Senate and Representative Districts satisfy the constitutional mandate of substantially equal populations […]
Because the legislative districts in the Plan were drawn using ACS estimates and unspecified “election data,” the districts cannot and do not satisfy the constitutional requirement of substantial population equality. The use of ACS estimates for the Redistricting Plan, among other issues, also renders the Plan arbitrary and discriminatory. For these reasons, the Court should declare the Redistricting Plan unconstitutional, invalid, and thus void ab initio and order Defendants to cooperate with the creation of a bipartisan legislative redistricting Commission. […]
Plaintiffs request a three-judge trial court pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2284(a) and Rule 9.1 of the Local Rules for the Northern District of Illinois because this action challenges the constitutionality of the apportionment of a statewide legislative body.
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…Adding… Press release…
Illinois House Republican Leader Jim Durkin (R-Western Springs) and Illinois Senate Republican Leader Dan McConchie (R-Hawthorn Woods) filed a lawsuit today in federal court to challenge the legislative maps drawn and passed by Illinois Democrats in the General Assembly and signed into law by Governor JB Pritzker. The lawsuit is being filed against Illinois House Speaker Emanuel Chris Welch (in his official capacity), Illinois Senate President Don Harmon (in his official capacity), the offices of the Speaker of the House and the Senate President, and the Illinois State Board of Elections and its members (in their official capacities).
“Today’s filing should come as no surprise to Illinoisans. The partisan process upon which the legislative maps were drawn flies in the face of the strong recommendations made by countless advocacy groups and citizens who testified at the redistricting hearings,” Leader Durkin said. “The tone deaf Democratic party of Illinois has robbed citizens of a fair and transparent legislative map-making process, and I plan to be a conduit for Illinois citizens who demand honesty by ensuring they also have their day in court.”
The lawsuit argues that the use of American Community Survey (ACS) estimates violates the federal law, including well established “one-person, one-vote” principles under the U.S. Constitution. More than 50 good government and community advocacy organizations and leaders implored the General Assembly to wait for the release of official census counts, which are expected by August 16, 2021. The use of ACS estimates will undercount minority, rural and growing communities and will result in a population disparity between districts that exceeds what federal law allows. Even the U.S. Census Bureau has said that ACS estimates are not appropriate for drawing legislative boundaries.
“Today we are entering court on behalf of the thousands of families, small business owners, workers, and taxpayers who said they wanted an independently drawn map, not the one handed down by political insiders desperately clinging to power,” said Illinois Senate Republican Leader Dan McConchie (R-Hawthorn Woods). “We believe this is our best option to advocate for the 75 percent of voters who were refused an independent process and a map created with accurate data. More than 50 independent groups asked the legislature not to use American Community Survey sampling estimates, and instead wait for the actual Census counts to be released, but the politicians in power ignored them. ACS estimates have never before been used for redistricting in Illinois, and we plan to challenge the legitimacy of these maps to the fullest extent of the law.”
The lawsuit requests that the court declare the Democrats’ plan to be unconstitutional, invalid, and void ab initio. The lawsuit also requests that the court direct Speaker Welch and President Harmon to make their appointments to the Illinois Legislative Redistricting Commission as required by the Illinois Constitution. That commission has been used in every redistricting cycle but one since the constitution’s adoption in 1970. Leaders Durkin and McConchie will make their appointments soon and have pledged to work with those commissioners and the Democratic Leaders to adopt a transparent, bipartisan and independent process for drawing and approving a legislative map after the release of official census data in August.
…Adding… A commenter mentioned this passage in the lawsuit…
Comparisons using historical data also demonstrate the problems inherent in using ACS estimates for redistricting. Experts have run comparisons of computer-generated plans drawn using the 2005-2009 ACS estimates, which show that the use of ACS estimates inevitably results in population disparities well in excess of 10%. Among a thousand computer-generated plans drawn using the 2005-2009 ACS estimates, while controlling for compactness and majority-minority districts, not a single plan had a maximum population deviation within 10% when subsequently analyzed against the 2010 census counts. Instead, the plans based on ACS estimates showed maximum population deviations that were generally between 23% and 55%, far beyond the constitutional limits.
That’s fascinating, but there’s no footnote to explain what experts these are or how the computer-generated plans were developed and what they’re basing the comparison on, since there’s no available census data.
…Adding… Press release…
The statement below can be attributed to Sen. Omar Aquino, D-Chicago, Chair of the Senate Redistricting Committee, and Sen. Elgie Sims, D-Chicago, Vice Chair of the Senate Redistricting Committee:
“It is disappointing but not surprising Republicans would seek to strike down these new maps, which reflect the great racial and geographic diversity of our state. Throughout this process, they have done nothing but delay and obstruct efforts to ensure our communities are fairly represented, as seen by their refusal to even draft their own proposals. We stand by our work to ensure everyone has a voice in state government.”
…Adding… Press release…
Leader Hernandez’s Statement Regarding Republican Effort To Block Maps Reflective of Diversity of Illinois
“As expected, the Republicans are doing everything in their power to block a map that reflects the true diversity of Illinois in hopes that they get a chance to single handedly draw a map for their political gain,” said Rep. Lisa Hernandez, Chair of the House Redistricting Committee. “Republicans in the House have done nothing but attempt to obstruct this citizen-driven process. They’ve staged charades for the media while spending well over $500,000 of taxpayer money out of their redistricting budget, but couldn’t even bother to submit their own proposals to be considered. This is just another disappointing waste of taxpayer dollars, but not at all surprising. We have full confidence in the maps passed by the legislature and signed by Governor Pritzker, and we will continue to review this lawsuit.”