Connecting the dots between speaker Madigan and Justice Kilbride

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Speaker Mike Madigan has kept a firm hold on political power in Illinois for 40 years, largely due to Illinois’ seriously flawed redistricting process, which results in gerrymandered legislative districts that thwart true competition.

Illinois Supreme Court Justice Thomas Kilbride has served for 20 years and has received nearly $4 million in judicial campaign cash from Madigan. On August 25, 2016, Justice Kilbride authored the narrow, partisan 4-3 majority decision throwing the Independent Map Amendment off of the November ballot, denying Illinois citizens their constitutional right to finally vote on changing our politically corrupt redistricting process.

I believe Illinois voters have good enough judgment to connect the dots between Speaker Madigan and Justice Kilbride, and thus, I urge a NO vote on the retention of Justice Kilbride, which appears way down the ballot this year.

In 2016, I served on the Executive Committee for the Independent Map Amendment Board, a nonpartisan statewide coalition. And, as a young attorney, I also served as a senior law clerk for the Illinois Supreme Court. In May of 2016, the Independent Map Amendment filed 563,974 petition signatures with the Illinois State Board of Elections to put the redistricting constitutional amendment on the November 8, 2016 ballot. The state board unanimously approved the signatures as valid.

A week after the petitions were filed, John Hooker, the chief lobbyist for ComEd, and Frank Clark, the former CEO of ComEd, filed a lawsuit to block the Independent Map Amendment from appearing on the ballot. They hired long-time Speaker Madigan attorney Mike Kasper to argue the case. Kasper was also a lobbyist for ComEd. This year, in a federal lawsuit, ComEd admitted bribing close associates of Madigan for 10 years. ComEd has agreed to pay a fine of $200 million.

The Independent Map Amendment case quickly made its way to the Illinois Supreme Court. In the narrow 4-3 majority opinion written by Kilbride, he determined that the amendment had to be thrown off the ballot because it assigned duties to the Auditor General in the selection process of the 11-member Independent Redistricting Commission.

The Illinois Constitution allows citizens the right to file petitions to bring a constitutional amendment to change the structure and process of the Illinois General Assembly. And, it is clear from repeated statements made by the delegates of the 1970 Illinois Constitutional Convention that redistricting is precisely the kind of structural and procedural subject the initiative process was designed to address.

To implement a new independent redistricting commission in Illinois, someone has to oversee the selection process of the Independent Redistricting Commission and shield it from partisan politics. The Auditor General is the only constitutional officer who is required to stay out of partisan politics throughout a ten-year team of office.

In his 26-page dissent, Justice Lloyd Karmeier criticized Kilbride for failing to follow well-established Illinois precedent. In every past Illinois court decision interpreting the legislative intent of the citizens’ initiative provision of the Illinois Constitution, the courts looked at the legislative history including the debates at the 1970 Constitutional Convention where delegates specifically identified redistricting as a matter that could go to the voters. Kilbride totally, and conveniently, ignored this critical legislative intent. As a result, Speaker Madigan will again be able to control the legislative map drawing process following the 2020 census.

Ultimately, the voters must decide if there is a reasonable connection between the nearly $4 million in judicial campaign cash directed by Speaker Madigan to Justice Kilbride and the demise of the Independent Map Amendment by the written words of Justice Kilbride.

As aptly stated in a dissent by Justice Robert Thomas, “The Illinois Constitution is meant to prevent tyranny, not enshrine it.” On behalf of the 563,974 Illinois citizens who signed the Illinois Map Amendment petitions and the countless good-hearted volunteers who gathered these signatures, I urge Illinois voters to connect the dots between Speaker Madigan and Justice Kilbride and vote NO on the retention of Justice Kilbride to the Illinois Supreme Court.

Feeds,Region: Peoria,Opinion,Region: Central

via Opinion – Canton Daily Ledger – Canton, IL https://ift.tt/2JnLwIg

October 13, 2020 at 11:34AM

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