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Federal court punts remap case until after legislative special session

Tuesday, Aug 24, 2021

* I gave this info to subscribers yesterday, but it’s been picked up by another outlet and wasn’t quite reported right, so I thought I should take off the password protection. This docket entry was filed yesterday by a federal judge (not the Illinois Supreme Court, as reported elsewhere) in the lawsuit against the new redistricting law after a Monday morning hearing

Taking into account the parties’ written submissions and the discussion held on the record this morning, Defendants’ motion to adjourn the expert discovery schedule and to set status conference for September 1, 2021 is granted in part and denied in part. Opening expert reports and supporting materials, which are due today under the existing schedule, are still to be exchanged no later than August 25, 2021. All other expert deadlines and expert discovery are stayed until further order of the Court and will be discussed either with the three−judge panel on September 1, or with Magistrate Judge Jantz, or both. Plaintiffs’ motion to expedite briefing schedule with respect to pending dispositive motions is denied. The pending dispositive motions remain under advisement, though the panel observes that in the event that the General Assembly enacts an amended redistricting plan in next week’s special session, the parties may need to consider whether to amend the pleadings and motions that currently are on file. The panel also reiterates the comments made on the record urging the General Assembly to take into account the views of the Plaintiffs in crafting any amended plan with the objective of presenting for the Court’s consideration a plan that satisfies all constitutional and statutory obligations, not just those raised in the existing pleadings and motions. To the extent that an amended plan still raises viable legal challenges, the parties should expect to update their pleadings, motions, and expert work (including proposed revisions or alternatives to the map(s) under consideration) on a highly compressed schedule given the need for an expeditious conclusion to this litigation to accommodate the 2022 election calendar. As a housekeeping matter, the motions to dismiss the original (and now superseded complaint) are stricken as moot. In view of the foregoing, the status conference previously set for 8/24/2021 at 12:30 p.m. is stricken and reset to 9/1/2021 at 12:30 p.m. Information regarding the video link for the panel and counsel and the telephone link for members of the public and media will be provided in a separate minute order. Finally, the notice of motion date of 8/27/2021 on Plaintiffs’ motion for summary judgment is stricken and no appearances are necessary on that date.

* Basic translation: The Republicans wanted the court to step in before the special session, but that was a no-go and the GOP’s motion to expedite the briefing for summary judgment was denied. Instead, the court punted the case until after the scheduled August 31st legislative special session on the remap. Democrats were urged to listen to plaintiffs on the constitutionality of the new remap plan (I’m told that means in particular the plaintiffs arguing insufficient Hispanic origin districts) because this could be their last chance to save their map.

In other words, the Democrats better get it done and get it right next week or they could lose control of the map-making process to a federal three-judge panel.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

7 Comments
  1. - Fav Human - Tuesday, Aug 24, 21 @ 9:16 am:

    Big test of the new leaders - They will need to carve someone on their own team out of a seat. Maybe two someones……

    The downside of supermajorities - at some point there is only your side to gouge.


  2. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Aug 24, 21 @ 9:32 am:

    ===They will need to carve someone on their own team out===

    That hasn’t yet happened and I’m not sure it will, either.


  3. - Norseman - Tuesday, Aug 24, 21 @ 10:28 am:

    The risk to the Dem map was always greater with respect to the Hispanic representation. The GOP was hoping to use any justification they could to get to the commission and a 9th commissioner pulled from the hat.


  4. - Moved East - Tuesday, Aug 24, 21 @ 11:23 am:

    Like Achilles, the hero who forgot his heel, or like Icarus who, flying close to the sun, forgot that his wings were made of wax, we should be wary when triumphant ideas seem unassailable, for then there is all the more reason to predict their downfall.

    -Dwight Longenecker


  5. - Moved West - Tuesday, Aug 24, 21 @ 11:38 am:

    “I am ready to face any challenges that might be foolish enough to face me.”

    -Dwight Shrute


  6. - Original Anon - Tuesday, Aug 24, 21 @ 12:29 pm:

    I’m not certain the Judge’s ruling to moot the motion to dismiss was procedurally proper. Because there can be an argument that (1) any subsequent act is invalid because the GA lacks authority to pass a map (or “revise” a map) and (2) the original maps remain in effect and subject to legal challenge.


  7. - Valerie F. Leonard - Tuesday, Aug 24, 21 @ 1:06 pm:

    There seems to be a concerted effort to keep the discussion of dilution of the Black vote out of the media, and even on this blog. My comments on the topic were deleted, and Rich has never, ever published any of the press releases from the Illinois African Americans for Equitable Redistricting on the topic, in spite of the fact that we have data to support our statements. This is unfortunate.


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