Supreme Court Puts Final Nail In Redistricting Effort's Coffin

Sep 14, 2016

The Independent Maps group failed in the latest effort to change how Illinois draws state legislators' districts; they argue that the oddly-shaped districts, as shown in this map, are designed with a partisan bent.
Credit Google Maps

A divided Illinois Supreme Court is sticking by its decision on redistricting.

The Independent Maps group spent millions of dollars pushing a plan it promised would do away with gerrymandering - if voters approved in the upcoming election. Supporters collected some 563,000 signatures from Illinois voters to put the question on the ballot. Independent Maps wants to change the Illinois Constitution so a commission would draw district boundaries, rather than legislators themselves.

Several weeks ago, a 4-to-3 court held that the proposal went outside the narrow bounds of how citizens can initiate a constitutional amendment.

Independent Maps admitted it was a long shot, but it asked the court to reconsider.

The same four-justice, Democratic majority this week turned down the request to rehear the case.

The justices took six words to say no with an order stating: "the petition for rehearing is denied."

Gov. Bruce Rauner says the legislature should take up the mantle.

"Whether people are Democrats or Republicans doesn’t matter, this is about reform, it's about changing the system versus the status quo." It's thought that Republicans would benefit if Illinois changes how districts are drawn," he said.

The three Supreme Court justices elected as Republicans dissented in the original decision, and did so again on the question of rehearing the case. They indicated they'll have more to say later, in a written dissent.