A Cook County judge said Thursday she will rule by July 21 on whether a petition-driven proposed constitutional amendment aimed at taking much of the politics out of the redrawing of legislative districts will appear on the fall ballot. Regardless of Judge Diane Larsen’s decision, attorneys on both sides of the case ultimately expect it to end up before the Illinois Supreme Court. The Independent Map proposal, which has gained enough signatures to qualify for a spot on the Nov. 8 ballot, would create a multistep process in which an 11-member board, including representatives of the four legislative leaders, would be charged with drawing new boundaries for Illinois’ 118 House and 59 Senate seats after the once-a-decade federal census.
Seven votes would be needed for approval of a new map, including at least two members from each political party and three independents.
But the process for getting petition-driven proposed amendments on the ballot is extremely limited to only those affecting both “structural and procedural” changes involving the General Assembly. A similar proposal was rejected by a judge in 2014 because it would have unconstitutionally created new qualifications for serving in the legislature or on the courts by imposing a ban on commissioners serving in public office.
Attorneys on Thursday delivered oral arguments for about 90 minutes in a Daley Center courtroom.