Ingalls Urgent Aid
Lawmakers could redraw Illinois Supreme Court district maps

Lawmakers could redraw Illinois Supreme Court district maps

By SARAH MANSUR
Capitol News Illinois
[email protected]

SPRINGFIELD — Drawing new district lines for state and federal elections is the main focus for lawmakers when they begin the redistricting process every 10 years.

But Illinois Democrats, who control all three branches of government, have some incentive to redraw the boundaries for the five Illinois Supreme Court districts this year as well after a Democratic justice was defeated in a retention bid in the 3rd Judicial District in November.

House Minority Leader Jim Durkin, of Western Springs, said Monday he expects the Democrats in the General Assembly will seek to redraw at least the 3rd District in the northwestern part of the state, spanning from Joliet to the Quad Cities.

“Quite frankly, if they don’t change (the 3rd) district, Republicans win and the balance of power would go to Republicans,” Durkin said at a virtual news conference. “That’s why there is going to be, I imagine, within the next few weeks, some type of map – and it could be this week – that is going to redraw that 3rd Supreme Court District to make it more appealing to Democrat voters.”

A judicial remap would be the first for the state since the early 1960s.

Unlike with the legislative district maps, there are no set deadlines in state law or the Illinois Constitution for redrawing Illinois Supreme Court districts.

The five Supreme Court districts contain seven total justices, with three justices from Cook County, which encompasses the 1st District, and one justice each from the remaining four districts. Those districts are identical to the state’s five appellate districts as well, meaning a remap would affect them both.

Justices from the 1st and 3rd districts ran as Democrats, which have a majority on the court.

The 2nd District, which encompasses the collar counties and counties along the Wisconsin border, as well as the 4th and 5th Districts, which are downstate, are represented by justices who ran as Republicans.

Spokespeople for House Speaker Emanuel “Chris” Welch and Senate President Don Harmon did not immediately respond to requests for comment as to whether a judicial remap is in the works.

Durkin said the November retention election for former Justice Thomas Kilbride, who was seeking another term representing the 3rd District, put Democrats and their funders on high alert because Kilbride failed to reach the 60 percent threshold required to win retention.

Kilbride’s retention campaign, which was supported by Democratic funders largely representing the interests of unions and trial lawyers, came under attack by wealthy conservative donors who sought to flip the seat from Democrat to Republican.

After Kilbride’s defeat in the November election, the Illinois Supreme Court appointed another Democrat, Justice Robert Carter, who will serve until November 2022, to fill the vacancy.

Carter has said he will not seek reelection when his two-year term ends. That means an election without incumbent candidates will determine which party controls the 3rd District seat.

Kent Redfield, an emeritus professor of political science at the University of Illinois at Springfield, said the 3rd and 2nd districts are the most likely targets for Democrats who are trying to keep a majority on the court.

“They’re arguing about partisan control of the Supreme Court, and trying to change the map to give the Democrats the best shot, given the way that the distribution of the population and the political demographics have changed since the last time we drew through them,” he said in an interview.

Redfield said he expects lawsuits will be filed to challenge any new boundaries for the Illinois Supreme Court districts, although he said he can’t predict the nature of such a challenge.

For example, the federal courts have ruled that generally the principle of “one person, one vote” – which provides that districts should be drawn to ensure each person’s vote carries equal weight – does not apply to electing judges.

However, the U.S. Supreme Court has held that Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act, which prohibits voting practices that discriminate on the basis of race, color or membership in a defined minority group, can apply in judicial elections.

“I’m sure they’ll be sued. I’m just not sure what the basis of the suit would be,” Redfield said.

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

DVN JCs Restoration House Ad
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…

CRR NH Foran Funeral Home House Ad
Regional CC Asphalt House Ad