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HomeIllinois PoliticsSCOTUS gerrymandering decisions will encourage more map manipulation, CHANGE Illinois says

SCOTUS gerrymandering decisions will encourage more map manipulation, CHANGE Illinois says

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SPRINGFIELD – Illinois' constitution doesn't provide for voters to directly determine public policy as referenda do in states like California, but voters will be the only way to make drawing Illinois' maps fairer, but that's the only recourse available to Illinoisans after the decisions the US Supreme Court released Monday. 

According to Jeff Raines, Communications and Engagement Director of CHANGE Illinois, “The Supreme Court’s position on gerrymandering this term will only encourage entrenched politicians to manipulate the maps in 2021, cementing their mistaken belief that their personal and party gain outweighs the constitutional rights of the American people. It’s clear that we can’t rely on the courts to save us from this nefarious political practice. It’s going to take people power to end gerrymandering in Illinois and around the country.”

Raines confirmed there are two pathways to get a fair maps amendment on the ballot. First, the citizens' advisory petition and second, the General Assembly placing constitutional amendments on the ballot after a 3/5ths majority vote.

A petition drive to put an advisory referendum on the ballot still has no teeth to become law without lawmakers' follow through. So CHANGE Illinois explained to Illinois Review their alternative plan.

"Our coalition’s current strategy is the pathway through the General Assembly to encourage legislative action by activating the hundreds of thousands of Illinois voters that care about this issue," Raines said in an email.
 
"We’re spending the rest of 2018 focusing on public education ahead of the November elections to make gerrymandering a key issue. With so many open seats for the state legislature this year, we believe we can encourage these aspiring elected officials to back our reform initiatives with enough pressure from their would-be constituents," he went on to say. "Success will only come if enough voters demand it."

On Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a 5-4 decision in the Texas racial gerrymandering case: Abbott v. Perez, which challenged the state’s legislative and Congressional districts as unconstitutional. The Court found that only one of the state’s legislative districts crossed the line into a racial gerrymander, approving the rest of the maps for the November election. The U.S. District Court in Texas that previously heard the case found the maps to be unconstitutional in a 3-0 decision.

The Supreme Court also announced that it would not hear Rucho v. Common Cause, a North Carolina partisan gerrymandering case, in its fall term, sending the case back to district court for further consideration. This decision to remand the case to lower court means that there will not be a partisan gerrymander case on the Supreme Court’s docket, leaving the constitutionality of the issue unresolved for the near future. 

In the last page of her 46-page dissent for the minority, Justice Sonia Sotomayor stated, “The Court today does great damage to that right of equal opportunity. Not because it denies the existence of that right, but because it refuses its enforcement. The Court intervenes when no intervention is authorized and blinds itself to the overwhelming factual record…” 

 

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3 COMMENTS

  1. “Right of equal opportunity” my [email protected]@.
    Gerrymandered districts DENY the rights of minority groups who live within them, and that means minorities of colors other than brown and black.
    The process of gerrymandering guarantees that certain race-baiting incumbents keep their seats without fear of removal in coming elections. Look at the map of Luis Gutierrez’s
    gerrymandered district for proof of it.

  2. What the Supreme Court was actually being asked was to make all the other state’s maps MORE LIKE Illinois than the opposite. What the plaintiffs, against the state of Wisconsin, wanted were maps that elected a number of legislators equivalent to the popular vote. That pretty much is Illinois. That actually IS the gerrymandering, to craft a bunch of convoluted districts to elect a proportional number of Democrats and Republicans because liberals can’t stand living around anybody else. Democrats cluster, Republicans don’t. That’s why they can’t win geographic districts, because they’re geographic districts. Lol. The Supreme Court decision helps us and Illinois Democrats know it. The Supreme Court DIDN’T affirm the rationale for horribly drawn Illinois districts.