Though nearly 600,000 Illinoisans signed a petition to put a Fair Map Amendment on the ballot so that people—not politicians—draw legislative district maps, the Illinois Supreme Court voted 4-3 to throw out the Amendment Aug. 25.
“I disagree with the court’s opinion striking down the independent maps petition,” Sen. Rose said. “I have long supported and will continue to push for legislative action to empower the citizens of Illinois to take back their government. The fact this was decided upon partisan lines with the democrats striking down the proposed referendum is very disappointing as this has been an issue that has been supported by the majority of Illinoisans, who just want their government back, regardless of party affiliation.”
In the dissenting opinion, Justice Robert Thomas wrote, “The Illinois Constitution is meant to prevent tyranny, not to enshrine it.”
Justice Thomas noted that “the drafters of the 1970 Constitution foresaw just this problem and fashioned a clear and specific mechanism to insure that the legislature could never have the upper hand on the people of Illinois….I would honor that obligation and permit the ballot initiative proposed here to go forward.” Thomas stressed that “Today a muzzle has been placed on the people of this state.”
In response to the Supreme Court’s decision, Senate Republicans are exploring other options to give the public a voice in way legislative district boundaries are drawn.