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The remap redo muscling continues

Monday, Aug 30, 2021 - Posted by Rich Miller


Illinois legislators are poised to return to the state capitol for a special session Tuesday to potentially approve new legislative boundaries for themselves, even as they face repeated criticism for a closed-door process and a lawsuit that has potential to upend the mapmaking system.

The rare one-day session comes amid fiercely partisan accusations from Republicans that Democrats are attempting to gerrymander state legislative districts in an effort to retain their supermajority status in both the House and Senate. Several community groups have also voiced concerns that the districts do not adequately represent minority populations, and that their criticisms have not been taken into account. […]

The federal government released more complete census data earlier this month, prompting Democrats to restart legislative hearings and call Tuesday’s session. But community advocates are continuing their criticisms of Democrats for seeking input from the public, but not actually releasing maps for the public to consider.

I’m also hearing complaints (including from my consultant Frank Calabrese) that the Democrats’ portal which members of the public can use to submit their own map ideas isn’t working properly and is using 2010 Census numbers. Oops.

* Thread

* From the Peoria hearing

Saturday morning, both Senate and House Redistricting Committees held a joint hearing at the Peoria Riverfront Museum.

The group is considering changing legislative boundaries after the 2020 Census data was released.

The current map splits Peoria between different districts. Ryan Spain, Republican State Representative for District 73 and half of the City of Peoria, said he felt the current maps will negatively affect people in Peoria.

“It’s a very curious decision, and I think one that will have very damaging and long-lasting impacts for representation here in the greater Peoria area,” said Spain.

* Related…

* Pekin lost more people than Peoria in the 2020 Census. How can the drop be reversed?


  1. - Just Me 2 - Monday, Aug 30, 21 @ 10:32 am:

    Can’t wait to hear OW justify this corrupt process once again.

  2. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Aug 30, 21 @ 10:33 am:

    === Can’t wait to hear …===

    If I owe you rent for living in your head, I’m enjoying it way too much living there for free


  3. - Original Anon - Monday, Aug 30, 21 @ 10:35 am:

    What is the legal authority for the General Assembly to approve a map after June 1?

  4. - Rich Miller - Monday, Aug 30, 21 @ 10:40 am:

    ===What is the legal authority for the General Assembly to approve a map after June 1? ===

    I’d suggest you read the Constitution.

  5. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Aug 30, 21 @ 10:41 am:

    I do find it ironic that the Raunerite thought to all this has been to stall process in hopes to get a coin flip.

    The “Fair Maps Amendment” was a phony sham to get signatures (names) for Rauner to build a campaign, not a real attempt or intention to try to change the constitution.

    Now, to this;

    I’d probably be more inclined to side with Butler here… but I do find it odd if there’s such anger and angst that it’s swelling so large… less than 6 people showed up.

    Maybe try to get a dozen, maybe two dozen, to show up… like the anti-vax and anti-mask folks. They get dozens.

    You’d think with all those signatures, all this names, all those pages… they’d find a bunch of folks to show up.

    Given covid, Afghanistan, masks… don’t think anyone is going to lose any seat at this point for voting for maps

  6. - Nagidam - Monday, Aug 30, 21 @ 10:45 am:

    The map making process has been and always will be a political process until voters or the courts decide differently. There is no chance that the Republicans if given the chance to draw the map all of the sudden see the divine light. Otherwise they would have produced a map. If they produced a map and then for some unlikely reason they win their court arguments they would be held to that map.

  7. - walker - Monday, Aug 30, 21 @ 10:46 am:

    “”The Remap Campaign Posturing Continues”"

  8. - Norseman - Monday, Aug 30, 21 @ 10:46 am:

    What is the legal citation that prohibits the General Assembly to approve a map after June 1? The constitution requires a remap every decade after the census, but it doesn’t prohibit changes in between. The General Assembly did approve a map by June 1 and there is not legal proscription to it subsequently revising that map.

  9. - Donnie Elgin - Monday, Aug 30, 21 @ 10:47 am:

    Expending blunt political capital on an issue as strategically important as restricting is not pretty. Good govt and transparency proponents should be ringing the alarm bells. But will they?

  10. - AD - Monday, Aug 30, 21 @ 10:47 am:

    Yikes. Not saying it will happen, but unforced errors may cost Dems the game if they’re not careful.

  11. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Aug 30, 21 @ 10:51 am:

    === Not saying it will happen, but unforced errors may cost Dems the game if they’re not careful.===

    With voters or process… MALDEF?

    MALDEF, maybe, but it’s up to Dems to make right so there’s no legal challenge that any judge can say the Voting Rights Act is being ignored.

  12. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Aug 30, 21 @ 10:52 am:

    === Good govt and transparency proponents should be ringing the alarm bells. But will they?===

    All those signatures and contact info… nary a use of it now.

    Not an accident.

  13. - AD - Monday, Aug 30, 21 @ 10:55 am:

    ===With voters or process===

    Process. The undecideds probably aren’t paying enough attention to this issue to really care about it, especially by the time next November rolls around.

  14. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Aug 30, 21 @ 11:02 am:

    === Process===

    Where Durkin, et al, really messed up in trying to gin up angst versus building a case was trying to attack lawyers, hearings, anything, but they topped it off by rounding the edges with silly things like “compact” and “contiguous”…

    … the crux of any story will be about the map(s) meeting the Voting Rights Act and Dems pushing back, and pushing back hard on representation, and when MALDEF jumped in on that exact issue… appeasing MALDEF and having maps that conform, yet lean, “should” win the day.

    Republicans have mishandled this, never built off the list(s) Rauner had, and used simpleton thinking to walk into a position that might be against the Voters Rights Act… “because compact”

    It’s slipping way… as it’s being rammed through.

  15. - The Real Downstate - Monday, Aug 30, 21 @ 11:32 am:

    Even if MALDEF isn’t satisfied by the new map, I have a hard time believing SCOIL does much more than telling the ILGA to go back and make some tweaks. The court doesn’t want this and they certainly don’t want to hand the process over to a commission.

  16. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Aug 30, 21 @ 11:33 am:


    It’s in federal court.

  17. - The Real Downstate - Monday, Aug 30, 21 @ 11:34 am:

    Ah sorry, wrong case. Disregard

  18. - Lucky Pierre - Monday, Aug 30, 21 @ 11:47 am:

    Fair maps is a sham supported by bipartisan majorities who are smeared by the usual suspects who defend the status quo.

    Speaker Welch hit the nail on the head when he said at the beginning of his term as Speaker that Illinois residents don’t trust state government in Springfield

    To bad he didn’t take his own advice to try to restore it instead of just practicing bare knuckled politics

  19. - lake county democrat - Monday, Aug 30, 21 @ 11:47 am:

    Funny, I both signed and collected signatures for both fair map proposals (along with a number of young volunteers who sure didn’t strike me as Republican or Raunnerites) and I have never received any literature from him or the state GOP.

  20. - Norseman - Monday, Aug 30, 21 @ 11:53 am:

    === Good govt and transparency proponents should be ringing the alarm bells. But will they? ===

    The biggest enemy of good government right now is the actions being taken by one party to suppress vote, enact measures compromising the integrity of our elections and encouraging political violence.

    The justices appointed by that party have rejected challenges to political redistricting. So to cry good government in the few Dem controlled states while ignoring the GOP controlled states would be the biggest impediment to good government.

  21. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Aug 30, 21 @ 11:56 am:

    ===I have never received any literature from him or the state GOP.===

    You don’t think the GOP cross-referenced the circulatory info too?


    The thing about those petitions, those “drives”… those who had good intentions and participated may have been taken more for a ride than the signers(?)

  22. - Donnie Elgin - Monday, Aug 30, 21 @ 12:18 pm:

    “So to cry good government in the few Dem controlled states while ignoring the GOP controlled states”

    This blog is about Illinois.

  23. - Annonin' - Monday, Aug 30, 21 @ 12:32 pm:

    Could someone buzz up Rep Butler and ask for a quick update on how the GOPies spent the millions of taxpayer appropriated for remap? Nice lunches with lawyers to craft this stretgy?

  24. - Just Another Anon - Monday, Aug 30, 21 @ 12:33 pm:

    To all the folks saying “read the constitution” I’d encourage you to look at 1973 Il Atty Gen Op S-668. It discusses whether reapportionment may take place more than once after each federal census. Relying on People ex rel Mooney v Hutchinson, an 1898 Illinois Supreme Court opinion, the AG agreed that reapportionment plans, once adopted, are impervious to future amendment. In looking at the language under the old 1870 Constitution, the premise of the reapportionment process is that apportionments were to be made based upon the federal census, and not changed during that period. Indeed the Court found that one reapportionment powers were used, they were exhausted until the conditions provided for by the Constitution existed again.

    Under the 1970 Constitution, the operative language remains similar to that of the 1870 Constitution. “In the year following each Federal decennial census year, the General Assembly by law shall redistrict the Legislative Districts and the Representative Districts.” The triggering event to “refresh” the legislatures reapportionment powers remains the time of the federal decennial census.

    Here, the legislature timely acted. It approved a reapportionment plan prior to July 1, 2021,avoiding the triggering of the Commission.

    The question here becomes, first if the legislature can subsequently amend the plan as adopted. I believe that the Illinois Supreme Court’s prior interpretation of similar language precludes such an action. If that is the case, and Hutchinson remains good law, then how are the acknowledged defects to be addressed.
    There are four potential paths to relief. First, and in my opinion the path least likely to trigger reversal, is for the Court to create and promulgate an amended map, based upon maps it orders the parties to create. Second, and more likely subject to reversal, would be for the Court to order the commission to be constituted as set forth in the Constitution and require the committee process to create maps from which the Court may choose. Third, the Court could try its hand at map drawing, which would risk some other EP, comity, and Political Question reversals. Finally, and most likely to result in reversal, would be for the Court to trigger the failsafe of the Commission and have the commission perform its duties as set forth by the Constitution.

    There are some incontrovertible facts about the circumstances in which we find ourselves. Fist, as drawn, the legislature’s reapportionment plan violates federal law and the United States Constitution as it is repugnant to the equal protection clause and likely the VRA. Second, Hutchinson has not been overturned, nor has the operative portions of the provision interpreted by Hutchinson (the timing of the legislature’s authority deriving from the federal census) changed (beyond the addition of the commission language). The question becomes, in light of Hutchinson and a century or so of additional law at the federal level, how does the Court best proceed to resolve the issue? That is an open question, after all, someone must draw the maps, and those maps must be drawn subject to the Court’s order.

  25. - Original Anon - Monday, Aug 30, 21 @ 1:16 pm:

    Rich, I read the Illinois Constitution. Please identify the provision authorizing the legislature to (a) amend a map and (b) amend that map after July 1.

  26. - Rich Miller - Monday, Aug 30, 21 @ 1:19 pm:

    ===Please identify the provision authorizing the legislature===

    The legislative power is vested in a General Assembly consisting of a Senate and a House of Representatives, elected by the electors from 59 Legislative Districts and 118 Representative Districts.

  27. - Original Anon - Monday, Aug 30, 21 @ 1:20 pm:

    Just Another, (serious question), do you read the case law to accept an (allegedly) defective map as satisying the GA’s July 1 requirement - because they passed *a* map?

  28. - Original Anon - Monday, Aug 30, 21 @ 1:25 pm:

    Rich, be serious. General statements of power are irrelevant when the same Constitution has specific provisions. (Otherwise, section 1 would permit the GA to do whatever it wants without limit). The redistricting power is limited to pre-July 1, which the GA already followed. I am not aware of any Illinois authority granting the do-over power being used here.

  29. - Amalia - Monday, Aug 30, 21 @ 1:29 pm:

    so the map portal which I just accessed via the Facebook page of a recent post of a State Rep is not correct?

  30. - Hannibal Lecter - Monday, Aug 30, 21 @ 1:35 pm:

    Being indifferent to the new maps, I find all of this bluster about the maps amusing. The “good government” goo-goos on the left aligning with the Republicans on the right to try and shut down this map process. lol

  31. - B Team - Monday, Aug 30, 21 @ 1:38 pm:

    The new Senate map is up on the redistricting website.

  32. - Mockery - Monday, Aug 30, 21 @ 1:42 pm:

    == Under the 1970 Constitution, the operative language remains similar to that of the 1870 Constitution. “ ==

    To the poster trying to be an arm chair constitutional scholar, you might want to read the case law rather than citing a non-binding AG opinion interpreting the prior constitution. The redistricting language may be similar, but the power of the General Assembly is not. The 1970 Constitution flipped the power and gave the General Assembly absolute legislative power absent a direct constitutional prohibition. There isn’t one here.

    Thanks for coming to my Ted Talk.

  33. - Pot calling kettle - Monday, Aug 30, 21 @ 1:54 pm:

    ==The current map splits Peoria between different districts. Ryan Spain, Republican State Representative for District 73 and half of the City of Peoria, said he felt the current maps will negatively affect people in Peoria.==

    Problem solved. The new map has pretty much all of Peoria in the 92nd District. I guess someone was listening? (Not sure if the characterization of the original was correct; lost the link to that map.)

  34. - Pot calling kettle - Monday, Aug 30, 21 @ 2:17 pm:

    Rep. Spain’s characterization was way off…Peoria is and was (in the June version) pretty much all in the 92nd. Seems like a good draw for Peoria.

  35. - Norseman - Monday, Aug 30, 21 @ 2:27 pm:


    Bravo Rich, Bravo

  36. - Original Anon - Monday, Aug 30, 21 @ 2:57 pm:

    What Rich (and Mockery) miss is that Section 3 is an express limitation on the legislature’s authority over redistricting.

  37. - lake county democrat - Monday, Aug 30, 21 @ 3:43 pm:

    I don’t, because I know a Republican (primary voter) neighbor who signed both times and never gets mail either. But maybe that’s a fluke - I’m sure nobody would simply post that they were used (let alone intended) for that purpose without some first or second hand knowledge that was in-fact the case.

  38. - Just Another Anon - Monday, Aug 30, 21 @ 3:53 pm:

    @ Mockery
    First, I actually am a Constitutional Scholar. Got the law degree, law practice and everything. I also did read Hutchinson. I’m assuming most of your remarks are relating to Art. II, Sec. 2 and Fields v. McClernand. No doubt, II/2 was intended to abrogate Fields. That said, the analysis is deeper than “ThE CoNStituTion DOesn’T ExPresSly sAy i CaN’t”. Looking at People Ex Rel Chicago Bar Assn v. State Board of Elections, the Supreme Court dealt with an argument not dissimilar to yours. Namely, that a provision regarding whether the 1st Appellate Court district could be sub-divided did not expressly prohibit it with language such as “thou shalt keep thy filthy legislative hands off the Cook County bench”. The Constitution being silent, certain parties argued that it was therefore, permissible and within the legislature’s province to divy up the 1st District. There, the Illinois Supreme Court noted that the lack of an express restriction does not end the discussion, rather it begins the analysis of an unclear term. Here, the implied restriction is supported by prior Supreme Court precedent and is consistent with the debates from the Constitutional Convention.

    I’ll also point out that the legislative history is bolstered by both Hutchinson and the AG’s interpretation of how the legislatures own use of the language is given effect. Momentum lies with a finding of a constitutional preclusion of mid-term amendment of the reapportionment plan.

  39. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Aug 30, 21 @ 3:55 pm:

    - Just Another Anon -

    Cool, cool… why hasn’t anyone taken this to court in Illinois?

    I’ll take my answer off the air.

  40. - anon2 - Tuesday, Aug 31, 21 @ 6:41 am:

    == This blog is about Illinois.==

    Is gerrymandering only wrong in Illinois?

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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