This is going to be a big week in the ongoing death struggle for political power in Illinois. Even as a ballot dispute over a proposed constitutional amendment on legislative redistricting continues in Springfield, House Speaker Michael Madigan’s lawyers are going to court in Chicago to kill two proposals that could eventually bring the state’s professional political class to its knees. One proposed constitutional amendment would set eight-year term limits on legislators while the other would strip them of their authority to draw boundary lines for their own House and Senate districts, transferring that authority to a bipartisan citizens’ group. Oral arguments on Madigan’s legal challenges will be heard Wednesday by Cook County Circuit Judge Mary Mikva, the daughter of former congressman and federal appeals court judge Abner Mikva.
“This is the last hurdle remaining before (the term limits amendment) gets on the ballot,” said Mike Schrimpf, a spokesman for Republican gubernatorial candidate Bruce Rauner. “But it’s a big hurdle.”
The term limits proposal has been a major plank in Rauner’s campaign platform. A man of vast wealth, Rauner bankrolled the petition drive that ultimately collected roughly 600,000 signatures, nearly twice as many as the close to 300,000 needed to put the term limits plan on the ballot.
The redistricting proposal, which is separate from term limits, is funded by private contributions and backed by a bipartisan group of Republicans and Democrats.