Court Declares Initial State Legislative Maps Unconstitutional

By Jeremy Coumbes on October 19, 2021 at 4:24pm

The process of redistricting for state legislative districts got a little muddier today following a U. S. Court decision.

The U.S. District Court in the Northern District of Illinois announced its opinion on the first slate of maps approved by the General Assembly and signed into law by Governor J.B. Pritzker in June.

The court declared the first version of the maps unconstitutional saying that the proposal “violates the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, and enjoins the Defendant State Board of Elections” and its members “in their official capacities as members of the Illinois State Board of Elections, from enforcing Public Act 102-0010.”

The Court decision says the maps as submitted and approved, contain an unconstitutional divide in terms of population. The first round of maps was drawn by Democrats using data from the American Community Survey instead of the traditional results from the 2020 Census, which was delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Illinois Republicans and representatives of the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, both filed suit to challenge the maps on the grounds that the maps as written posed unfair representation to populations throughout the state.

The second version of the maps, redrawn over the summer and passed and signed in September is now under judicial review as a result of the decision that the first set were drawn unconstitutionally.

The court also rejected the Republican claim that failure to draw a constitutional map should trigger the state’s non-partisan remap commission process, according to a report by Capitol Fax.

The Court instead invites Republicans and MALDEF, whose lawsuits were combined by the court into one, to submit their own alternative maps with specific emphasis on how their alternatives address the alleged deficits.