IL Supreme Court Won't Hear Term Limit Question Before Ballot Deadline

Aug 22, 2014

Workers load thousands of pages, containing more than 600,000 signatures, of Bruce Rauner's term limit initiative petition onto a truck, for delivery to the State Board of Elections.
Credit Brian Mackey/WUIS

  Voters will not have a chance to weigh in on legislative term limits in November.

The Illinois Supreme Court this Friday afternoon issued a brief order saying it will not hear the case.

That leaves in place the decision of two lower courts that ruled the question unconstitutional.

In a statement, Republican gubernatorial candidate Bruce Rauner said that "Springfield career politicians" — like his Democratic opponent, Governor Pat Quinn — won.

Ironically, Quinn had pushed for term limits in the 1990s, but the Supreme court ruled 4-3 that his initiative was unconstitutional.

The same court decision that knocked his proposal off the ballot then is what helped to doom Rauner’s now.

The constitution only allows citizens initiatives to change the constitution if it's to alter the structure and procedures of the legislature, and the district and appellate courts found that term limits don't fit under that limitation.

Rauner had been pushing the Supreme Court rule on the legality of his citizen's initiative before the state's Board of Elections certified the November ballot.

The board did that Friday, its longstanding deadline. Elections authorities ruled that a statewide slate of Libertarian candidates collected enough voter signatures and so will be on the ballot, but that the Green and Constitutional parties' slates did not.