Supreme Court Refuses to Hear GOP Redistricting Challenge; Republicans React
Calling new state map unconstitutional, Illinois Republicans said Democrats redrew boundaries to benefit their party.
The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday dashed Illinois Republicans’ hopes of having a Democratic-drawn state legislative maps thrown out.
The high court refused to hear an appeal from Senate Minority Leader Christine Radogno (R-Lemont) and other Illinois GOP leaders.
In a lawsuit filed in 2011 in federal court, Republicans challenged the legislative maps, saying new boundaries disfranchise minority groups and were gerrymandered in favor of Democrats.
The political boundaries were redrawn based on 2010 U.S. Census data.
On Tuesday, Radogno and State Rep. Tom Cross, R-Oswego, issued a joint statement calling the ruling unfortunate.
“The court's ruling [Monday] is unfortunate and disappointing in light of the valid Voting Rights Act violations contained in the Democrats' legislative map,” the lawmakers said in the statement. “We had voluminous studies by respected scholars to demonstrate our position, and they unfortunately will not get to be considered in a court of law.”
Garrett Peck, a Republican running against Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant for the 49th District State Senate seat, issued a press release saying he was "disappointed."
“It is unfortunate that the court failed to recognize the obvious Voting Rights Act Violations contained in the Democrat drawn legislative map,” Peck said. “However, it is but a small piece of the larger issue at hand. Redistricting needs to be taken out of the hands of those who can most benefit from it — the controlling political party in the state (in this case the Democrats) and those incumbents who are given political protection through the gerrymandering process.”
Peck noted that in some states, redistricting is now done through an independent process.
"Illinois is in the Stone Age when it comes to the redistricting process,” he said in the release. "The process in Illinois is purely political. We need to take this process out of the politician’s hands, and create either a non-partisan commission or have a computerized mapping system.”