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Subcircuit remap coverage roundup: “Certainly partisanship is a component”

Thursday, Jan 6, 2022

* Center Square

State Rep. Tim Butler, R-Springfield, said there’s been virtually no input from anyone in the judiciary he’s spoken to.

“This is politics at its worst form,” Butler said during the hearing. “This is a complete power grab by you, the supermajority, and by the governor to completely redo the court system in your little progressive ways and it’s really a shame that this is how you’re conducting it.” […]

Senate President Don Harmon, D-Oak Park, said the measure won’t create more judges. It will create a more diverse judiciary. He also said there were other considerations.

“Certainly partisanship is a component that is considered when evaluating the constructing of subcircuits,” Harmon said.

There’s the admission. Plain as day.

* Capitol News Illinois

The same would be true for Lake County, where the proposal would double the number of subcircuits from six to 12.

In the 17th Circuit, which covers Winnebago and Boone counties, the bill calls for consolidating four subcircuits into two.

The bill also would create subcircuits for the first time in DuPage County, the state’s second-largest county, while establishing a “resident judge” model in Champaign, Peoria and Rock Island counties, which are all part of multicounty circuits. That means judges in those counties would be elected from within the county rather than from the entire circuit.

Similar changes are proposed for the 3rd Circuit, which includes Madison and Bond counties, and the 7th Circuit, which includes Sangamon County and five surrounding counties.

* SJ-R

The 7th Circuit bench is entirely white and always has been. There has never been a Black or Hispanic judge elected in the 7th Circuit.

Now, whether or not that will happen under this remap is anyone’s guess

Data released by Democrats in the Illinois Senate show that the first proposed subcircuit, containing the urban core of Springfield, is 22.22% Black and 3.31% Hispanic and has a population of 104,435. This subdistrict would have a significantly higher number of minority residents than the other proposed subdistricts.

The other subdistricts would range in population from 91,908 to 4,949.

Democrats said the legislation wouldn’t increase the number of judges but give people in minority communities more of a chance to elect judges who look like them.

The other subcircuits are here.

Of the six counties in the 7th Circuit, four have Black and Brown populations of less than 1 percent. Morgan was 6 percent Black in the 2010 census, and Sangamon was 11.8 percent Black.

But, again, this looks like more about electing Democratic judges. Same for Champaign, Peoria and Rock Island counties, which are surrounded by Republican counties.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

23 Comments
  1. - Donnie Elgin - Thursday, Jan 6, 22 @ 9:52 am:

    These are not minor things - once elected at the subcircuit level in a contested election - these judges then go on to face only retention elections - the retention rate is 90% plus percent - basically lifetimne appointments


  2. - lake county democrat - Thursday, Jan 6, 22 @ 10:01 am:

    Give Harmon credit for the honesty.

    Gerrymandering remains among the most anti-patriotic acts a politician can legally do: artificially working to minimize voter power to be as little as possible and predetermine election outcomes as a result. And for the courts (which shouldn’t be elected in the first place), there’s no “the GOP are doing it in other states, we shouldn’t unilaterally disarm” argument (or it’s very, very attenuated)


  3. - Hmm - Thursday, Jan 6, 22 @ 10:01 am:

    Have to wonder if there’s a better usage of time than trying to force through judicial subcircuit maps mere days/weeks before petitions go out?

    Seems like kicking can down the road a few years may not be a bad option. I could be wrong though. I’ll hang up and listen


  4. - TheInvisibleMan - Thursday, Jan 6, 22 @ 10:02 am:

    I wonder how the republican caucus is going to explain their attempts to pack the 5th circuit with 3 more judges, in HB4341 filed earlier this week, despite the declining population in that area.


  5. - Homebody - Thursday, Jan 6, 22 @ 10:06 am:

    I have a hard time caring about Republicans complaining about partisanship when it comes to the judiciary, given their very public efforts with regard to Kilbride in Illinois, or the SCOTUS at a national level.

    If you want to reform how judges work entirely, we can absolutely have that discussion. But rank hypocrisy about complaining about partisanship only deserves directly laughing in their faces in response.


  6. - Candy Dogood - Thursday, Jan 6, 22 @ 10:10 am:

    I am astonished that the political party that let a literal Illinois Nazi win a congressional primary while doing everything they can to oppose public health measures in a deadly pandemic would ever expect to be able to win a majority of voters in the State of Illinois again.

    The big money behind the GOP’s strategy relies on throwing hundred of millions of dollars a campaign rhetoric that is fundamentally dishonest or relies on negative campaigning and simply isn’t sustainable when the voters actually see what the Illinois GOP is doing.

    If they want to win elections in Illinois maybe the Illinois GOP should try representing the views and interests of a majority of Illinois’ voters instead of being a puppet for hedge fund billionaires that relies on lying to voters and is incapable of even introducing a balanced budget when they win.


  7. - Amalia - Thursday, Jan 6, 22 @ 10:14 am:

    interesting carving up of the N and NW sides of Chicago and suburbs. looks like they were worried that some R could get enough votes from cop land.


  8. - Sangamon - Thursday, Jan 6, 22 @ 10:16 am:

    –* SJ-R…

    The 7th Circuit bench is entirely white and always has been. There has never been a Black or Hispanic judge elected in the 7th Circuit.–

    Guess you can tell the SJR isn’t printed in Springfield anymore…Pretty sure Judge Braud would disagree with this


  9. - Paddyrollingstone - Thursday, Jan 6, 22 @ 10:25 am:

    As I seem to recall, the first subcircuits were introduced in 1990 and pushed through by the GOP (with minority Dems) so that more minorities AND Republicans could get elected. I have little sympathy for the GOP as they started the subcircuits for partisan purposes to begin with


  10. - Sploinkie - Thursday, Jan 6, 22 @ 10:26 am:

    Hyperbole there much candy? The GOP are representing the interests of their voters in the districts in which they were elected, that’s how it works.


  11. - SWIL_Voter - Thursday, Jan 6, 22 @ 10:30 am:

    These whining republicans should ask their SCOTUS justices about this at the next Federalist society fundraiser


  12. - SWIL_Voter - Thursday, Jan 6, 22 @ 10:36 am:

    == The GOP are representing the interests of their voters in the districts in which they were elected,==

    That’s why they’re a super minority holding no statewide office


  13. - Quibbler - Thursday, Jan 6, 22 @ 10:37 am:

    Oh my goodness, politics in the judiciary. Whatever will we do.


  14. - Socially DIstant Watcher - Thursday, Jan 6, 22 @ 10:41 am:

    You may disagree with the US Supreme court when it says that partisanship in redistricting is both acceptable and not subject to judicial review, but that doesn’t change the law of the land. Harmon shows that he knows the law when he says this.


  15. - Mischievous - Thursday, Jan 6, 22 @ 10:42 am:

    I can’t speak for the other counties, but sub circuits have helped Republicans in cook county. They can’t win countywide, but they have a fighting chance in a couple of the sub circuits.


  16. - PublicServant - Thursday, Jan 6, 22 @ 10:43 am:

    The GOP are representing the interests of their funders. Fixed it for ya.


  17. - Bigtwich - Thursday, Jan 6, 22 @ 10:44 am:

    The Sangamon County website lists,

    Associate Judge: Rudolph M. Braud.

    Associate Judges are elected by Circuit Judges not the public.


  18. - A. Lincoln's golf clap - Thursday, Jan 6, 22 @ 10:45 am:

    Judge Braud is a great judge, but unfortunately he is not elected but instead appointed.


  19. - Donnie Elgin - Thursday, Jan 6, 22 @ 10:51 am:

    ” sub circuits have helped Republicans in cook county. They can’t win countywide, but they have a fighting chance in a couple of the sub circuits”

    This was correct - a few Cook GOP circuit judges could squeak in with support in Schaumburg and Palatine township - This remap took that into account - GOP judges will have no chance going forward


  20. - NonAFSCMEStateEmployeeFromChatham - Thursday, Jan 6, 22 @ 10:54 am:

    ==Have to wonder if there’s a better usage of time than trying to force through judicial subcircuit maps mere days/weeks before petitions go out?–

    Like maybe think about first remapping all 24 Circuit Court districts outside Cook County, to get similar results as these subcircuit proposals? Maybe even split counties in the new circuit districts too to get a similar result as some of the subcircuits.


  21. - NonAFSCMEStateEmployeeFromChatham - Thursday, Jan 6, 22 @ 11:03 am:

    The Springfield and Sangamon County subcircuits have been brought to you today by Mel O Cream.


  22. - Bigtwich - Thursday, Jan 6, 22 @ 11:19 am:

    ” establishing a “resident judge” model in Champaign, Peoria and Rock Island counties, which are all part of multicounty circuits. That means judges in those counties would be elected from within the county rather than from the entire circuit.”

    Well, the “resident judge” model was established in 1971 to do exactly this. It sounds like subdistricts or subcircuits refers, in part, to counties.


  23. - anon2 - Thursday, Jan 6, 22 @ 12:30 pm:

    The GOP supported creation of subcircuits 30 years ago so a few Republican judges could be elected from suburban Cook. They had a partisan motive then, just as Democrats do now. BTW, the 13th judicial subcircuit in NW Cook hasn’t elected a Republican in the last two contested elections.


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