Ingalls Urgent Aid
In court hearing, Latino rights group says new maps still unfair

In court hearing, Latino rights group says new maps still unfair

By PETER HANCOCK
Capitol News Illinois
[email protected]

SPRINGFIELD – Lawyers for a Latino advocacy group told a panel of federal judges Wednesday that the new legislative district maps passed by the Illinois General Assembly the night before still dilute the vote of Hispanic citizens in the state, and they intend to proceed with a lawsuit in hopes of having them overturned.

Ernest Herrera, an attorney with the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, or MALDEF, said the latest maps actually reduce the number of majority-Latino legislative districts in Illinois, despite the fact that the Latino population grew over the last decade, both in terms of total numbers and as a percent of the state’s overall population.

MALDEF is representing several Latino voters, mainly in the Chicago area, who filed a lawsuit in July challenging the maps that lawmakers initially passed during the spring. A similar but separate lawsuit also was filed by Republican legislative leaders, Senate Minority Leader Dan McConchie, of Hawthorn Woods, and House Minority Leader Jim Durkin, of Western Springs.

Both suits name Senate President Don Harmon, D-Oak Park, and House Speaker Emanuel “Chris” Welch, D-Hillside, as defendants, along with the Illinois State Board of Elections.

A three-judge federal panel in Chicago presiding over both cases held a status hearing Wednesday to determine how the case should proceed in light of the General Assembly’s actions.

The maps that lawmakers initially adopted in the spring, and which Gov. JB Pritzker signed into law, were based on population estimates from the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey. That was because official numbers from the 2020 census were delayed, largely because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

When the official numbers were finally released in August, they showed the overall population of Illinois had declined by 7,893, to a little more than 12.8 million. But Herrera noted that the Latino population grew by nearly 310,000.

Despite that, he said, in the new maps approved by lawmakers Tuesday night, which are now awaiting Pritzker’s approval, the number of House districts in which Latino voters make up a majority of the voting-age population would shrink to four, instead of the current five. The number of majority-Latino Senate districts would shrink to two, instead of the current three.

Herrera said that could constitute a violation Section 2 of the federal Voting Rights Act, which prohibits voting practices or procedures that discriminate on the basis of race, color or membership in a language minority group. He said it could also constitute violations of the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, which prohibits states from denying its citizens equal protection under the law.

Herrera also said that because the new maps have not yet been signed into law, he still wants the court to declare that the maps adopted in May are illegal and unconstitutional. That would allow the court to proceed to what’s called the “remedial phase” in which the court would have oversight over how the state comes into compliance with federal law and the U.S. Constitution.

Attorneys for both sets of plaintiffs indicated that they intend to file amended complaints to include challenges to the latest set of maps. But attorneys for the Republican leaders indicated that they, too, would like a verdict against the original redistricting plan approved in the spring.

The GOP leaders are hoping that such a verdict would mean that the Democratic majority missed the June 30 deadline in the Illinois Constitution for lawmakers to approve new maps, which would trigger another state constitutional provision requiring the formation of a bipartisan commission to redraw maps where Republicans would have a 50-50 chance at controlling the process.

But attorneys for Harmon and Welch said they no longer intend to defend the original maps that prompted the lawsuit and that they believe Pritzker will approve the new maps within a short period of time.

U.S. District Judge Robert Dow Jr., who presides over the three-judge panel, suggested that the entire issue of the original maps could become moot if Pritzker approves the new set of maps before the court has a chance to act on the original redistricting plan. He also indicated that any question of invoking the state constitution to form a bipartisan commission would be a matter for the Illinois Supreme Court to decide, not the federal district court.

A trial in the case had tentatively been set for Sept. 27-29 but that is now certain to change because lawyers for both sets of plaintiffs said they will need at least a month to file their amended complaints.

The judges did not immediately set a date for the next hearing.

Capitol News Illinois is a nonprofit, nonpartisan news service covering state government and distributed to more than 400 newspapers statewide. It is funded primarily by the Illinois Press Foundation and the Robert R. McCormick Foundation.

Leave a Comment





Local News

Joe's Saloon has been remade into Martini's and Nick's. (Supplied photos)

“It’s a Wonderful Life” bars come to Joe’s Saloon in Brookfield

By Steve Metsch Don’t be surprised if you see Clarence the Angel, George Bailey or Mister Potter at Joe’s Saloon in Brookfield on Dec. 3 and 4. People dressed like those and other characters from the holiday movie “It’s a Wonderful Life” will likely be there tipping back a few flaming rum punches. For the…

Stagg’s unified volleyball team was honored for winning a state championship at the November District 230 board meeting. (Photos by Jeff Vorva)

Teams honored and trainer mourned at SD230 meeting

By Jeff Vorva There was both celebration and sorrow at the Consolidated High School District 230 meeting on Nov. 16. The board recognized a pair of state champions – the Stagg unified volleyball team and the Sandburg Class 3A cross country team. But there was some sadness to the meeting as longtime Sandburg trainer Dave…

Dan Polk said there is a perception that his village is not business friendly. (Photo by Jeff Vorva)

Palos Park looks to improve its image in the business world

By Jeff Vorva Whether the Village of Palos Park allows gaming machines in town or not, it has a problem it wants to address. The village needs to improve its image to the business community. “I think that Palos Park traditionally, for want of a better term, has not particularly been business-friendly,” Commissioner Dan Polk…

Lyons Mayor Christopher Getty presents an artist’s drawing to Fire Chief Gordon Nord, Jr. (Photos by Steve Metsch)

Lyons dedicates memorial to firefighters on 125th anniversary

By Steve Metsch The more than 500 men and women – many of them volunteers – who have worked for the Lyons Fire Department over the past 125 years will not be forgotten. A red-brick memorial topped with a firefighter’s helmet and sitting outside the fire station, 4043 Joliet Ave., was dedicated on Nov. 28.…

Sandburg’s Chamber Choir dresses festively at the holiday parade in Orland Park. (Photos by Jeff Vorva)

Parade adds fun to Orland Park holiday festival

By Jeff Vorva Every year, the Village of Orland Park tries to make its holiday celebration bigger and better. This year, officials took on the ambitious project of hosting a parade and more than 30 units stepped off on 151st Street and marched along Ravinia Avenue until they reached Village Hall, the site of various…

As always, the Man in Red is the star of the show at the annual Christmas tree lighting at Wentworth Park, much to the delight of children of all ages. --File photo

Christmas calendar fills up quickly

By Joan Hadac Your correspondent in Clearing and Garfield Ridge (708) 496-0265 • [email protected] Last week, I wrote about two fun Yuletide events sponsored by our friends at the Garfield Ridge Chamber of Commerce: Snack With Santa and the first-ever Archer Avenue Cookie Walk. This week, I’ll write about a few more wonderful things happening right…

CRRNH_AllisonMangan_112421

Roadrunner to become a Badger

 

CRRNH_ClearingNightForce_120121

A quarter century of crime prevention

Celebrating a quarter century of crime prevention in Police Beat 812 (Clearing, west of Central Avenue), 23rd Ward Ald. Silvana Tabares (second from left) presents a City Council resolution to leading members of the Clearing Night Force, at a recent CAPS meeting. Pictured with the alderman are (from left) key CNF members John Kurtovitch, Marie…

SRP-IMAGE-Logo

Clear-Ridge Reporter and NewsHound PDF December 1, 2021

A moment after ground was broken and tossed, smiles broke out among dignitaries celebrating PODER’s coming renovation. A computer-generated video offering a glimpse of what the new facility will look like is posted at southwestregionalpublishing.com. --Photo courtesy of Jorge Garza Norrick/JorgeTookYourPicture.com

New life for old city building

New PODER HQ to serve immigrants By Tim Hadac Ceremonial ground was broken on the west end of Gage Park last week to mark the coming renovation of a 94-year-old City of Chicago building and creation what is billed as Chicago’s first immigrant integration and job center. A lineup of political and business muscle…

Neighbors

AladdinsBanquets WebAd
USALiquidators WebAd
Joe's Saloon has been remade into Martini's and Nick's. (Supplied photos)

“It’s a Wonderful Life” bars come to Joe’s Saloon in Brookfield

By Steve Metsch Don’t be surprised if you see Clarence the Angel, George Bailey or Mister Potter at Joe’s Saloon in Brookfield on Dec. 3 and 4. People dressed like those and other characters from the holiday movie “It’s a Wonderful Life” will likely be there tipping back a few flaming rum punches. For the…

Stagg’s unified volleyball team was honored for winning a state championship at the November District 230 board meeting. (Photos by Jeff Vorva)

Teams honored and trainer mourned at SD230 meeting

By Jeff Vorva There was both celebration and sorrow at the Consolidated High School District 230 meeting on Nov. 16. The board recognized a pair of state champions – the Stagg unified volleyball team and the Sandburg Class 3A cross country team. But there was some sadness to the meeting as longtime Sandburg trainer Dave…

Dan Polk said there is a perception that his village is not business friendly. (Photo by Jeff Vorva)

Palos Park looks to improve its image in the business world

By Jeff Vorva Whether the Village of Palos Park allows gaming machines in town or not, it has a problem it wants to address. The village needs to improve its image to the business community. “I think that Palos Park traditionally, for want of a better term, has not particularly been business-friendly,” Commissioner Dan Polk…

Lyons Mayor Christopher Getty presents an artist’s drawing to Fire Chief Gordon Nord, Jr. (Photos by Steve Metsch)

Lyons dedicates memorial to firefighters on 125th anniversary

By Steve Metsch The more than 500 men and women – many of them volunteers – who have worked for the Lyons Fire Department over the past 125 years will not be forgotten. A red-brick memorial topped with a firefighter’s helmet and sitting outside the fire station, 4043 Joliet Ave., was dedicated on Nov. 28.…

Sandburg’s Chamber Choir dresses festively at the holiday parade in Orland Park. (Photos by Jeff Vorva)

Parade adds fun to Orland Park holiday festival

By Jeff Vorva Every year, the Village of Orland Park tries to make its holiday celebration bigger and better. This year, officials took on the ambitious project of hosting a parade and more than 30 units stepped off on 151st Street and marched along Ravinia Avenue until they reached Village Hall, the site of various…

As always, the Man in Red is the star of the show at the annual Christmas tree lighting at Wentworth Park, much to the delight of children of all ages. --File photo

Christmas calendar fills up quickly

By Joan Hadac Your correspondent in Clearing and Garfield Ridge (708) 496-0265 • [email protected] Last week, I wrote about two fun Yuletide events sponsored by our friends at the Garfield Ridge Chamber of Commerce: Snack With Santa and the first-ever Archer Avenue Cookie Walk. This week, I’ll write about a few more wonderful things happening right…

CRRNH_AllisonMangan_112421

Roadrunner to become a Badger

 

CRRNH_ClearingNightForce_120121

A quarter century of crime prevention

Celebrating a quarter century of crime prevention in Police Beat 812 (Clearing, west of Central Avenue), 23rd Ward Ald. Silvana Tabares (second from left) presents a City Council resolution to leading members of the Clearing Night Force, at a recent CAPS meeting. Pictured with the alderman are (from left) key CNF members John Kurtovitch, Marie…

SRP-IMAGE-Logo

Clear-Ridge Reporter and NewsHound PDF December 1, 2021

A moment after ground was broken and tossed, smiles broke out among dignitaries celebrating PODER’s coming renovation. A computer-generated video offering a glimpse of what the new facility will look like is posted at southwestregionalpublishing.com. --Photo courtesy of Jorge Garza Norrick/JorgeTookYourPicture.com

New life for old city building

New PODER HQ to serve immigrants By Tim Hadac Ceremonial ground was broken on the west end of Gage Park last week to mark the coming renovation of a 94-year-old City of Chicago building and creation what is billed as Chicago’s first immigrant integration and job center. A lineup of political and business muscle…

House Ad Subscription2
CRR NH Father Sons Home Improvement House Ad