APPEAL from the Superior Court of Cook County; the Hon. JOHN
J. LUPE, Judge, presiding.
MR. JUSTICE DAVIS DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT:
Rehearing denied March 21, 1956.
This case brings before this court the question of the constitutionality of "An Act to apportion the State of Illinois into senatorial and representative districts and to repeal an Act herein named," (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1955, chap. 46, pars. 158-1 to 158-8, inclusive,) commonly referred to as the Reapportionment Act.
The plaintiff filed his complaint for declaratory judgment against defendants as members of the Board of Election Commissioners of the city of Chicago seeking a determination that the Reapportionment Act was in violation of sections 6, 7, and 8 of article IV of the Illinois constitution; that no valid senatorial districts were created by said act; and that no valid primary or general elections may be held thereunder.
By the complaint, the plaintiff alleged his interest as a taxpayer and registered voter residing in the city of Chicago; set forth the senatorial districts created in the city of Chicago by the said Reapportionment Act, and alleged that said act was per se unconstitutional and void for two reasons: (I) the senatorial districts sought to be created in the city of Chicago are not compact, and (2) they are not uniform in area; and that the sections of said act purporting to reapportion the State into representative districts were unconstitutional and void in that the act is incomplete, the General Assembly having failed to reapportion the State into valid senatorial and representative districts in a single act as required by section 8 of article IV of the State constitution. By their answer, defendants admitted the senatorial districts were created as alleged but denied their invalidity. At the trial the matter of the plaintiff's interest was stipulated, and the only evidence adduced was that of a map-engineering draftsman and a registered engineer who identified maps offered in evidence and testified that the city of Chicago could be divided into 18 divisions, substantially equal in area without cutting through blocks or houses. On this record judgment was entered for the defendants declaring the Reapportionment Act of 1955 constitutional. From this judgment plaintiff appeals to this court, the constitutionality of a statute being directly involved. Prohm v. Non-High School Dist. No. 216, 7 Ill.2d 421.
On the record before us we are concerned solely with the question of whether the senatorial districts created by the Reapportionment Act of 1955 are, on their face, so violative of the constitutional mandate as to render the act unconstitutional.
A determination of this question first requires a consideration of the language of section 6 of article IV of the constitution of 1870 and a history of the creation of the senatorial districts thereunder. It provided that the General Assembly should apportion the State every ten years beginning with 1871, by dividing the population as ascertained by the Federal census by the number 51, and that the quotient should be the ratio of representation in the senate, and that the State should be divided into 51 senatorial districts and that they should "be formed of contiguous and compact territory, bounded by county lines, and contain as nearly as practicable an equal number of inhabitants; but no district shall contain less than four-fifths of the senatorial ratio. Counties containing not less than the ratio and three-fourths, may be divided into separate districts, and shall be entitled to two senators, and to one additional senator for each number of inhabitants equal to the ratio contained by such counties in excess of twice the number of said ratio." Both senators and representatives were chosen from the senatorial districts thus created.
The legislature last obeyed this constitutional mandate by the Reapportionment Act of 1901. By that act Cook County was given 19 senatorial districts compared with 32 downstate. In the ensuing years Cook County's population increased from 1,838,735 to 4,508,792, compared with an increase downstate from 2,982,815 in 1900 to 4,203,384 in 1950.
The increasing inequality in representation caused by the shift in population coupled with legislative unwillingness to meet the constitutional requirement of reapportionment led to numerous attempts to force redistricting. This court decided as early as 1895 that it was without power to compel the legislature to act affirmatively to perform its constitutional duty, (People ex rel. Woodyatt v. Thompson, 155 Ill. 451,) and has repeatedly reaffirmed this view, (People ex rel. Fergus v. Blackwell, 342 Ill. 223; Fergus v. Kinney, 333 Ill. 437; Fergus v. Marks, 321 Ill. 510,) as have the Federal courts. Keogh v. Neely, 50 F.2d 685; Colegrove v. Green, 328 U.S. 549.
This reluctance to redistrict can be attributed almost entirely to the fact that the General Assembly was opposed to giving control of both houses of the legislature to population-heavy Cook County. (Witwer, The Blue Ballot, p. 4; Wham and Sprecher, Solution of the Problem of State Legislative Representation, Chicago Bar Record, Nov. 1948.) As a result, redistricting was held up until a satisfactory compromise between Cook County and downstate Illinois could be achieved. In deliberating the so-called "Blue Ballot" amendment of sections 6, 7 and 8 of article IV of the constitution, the legislature considered at least nine different plans of apportionment. (Legislative Apportionment in Illinois, Publication 112, Illinois Legislative Council, 1952.) Their debate and reflection resulted in the adoption of the present section 6 of artice IV which reads as follows:
"The General Assembly in 1955 shall redistrict the state for the purpose of electing state senators. There shall be fifty-eight senatorial districts. Cook county shall have twenty-four of the districts. These twenty-four districts shall be located as follows: Eighteen in the territory that is within the present corporate limits of the city of Chicago; and six in the territory that is in Cook county outside such corporate limits. The remaining one hundred and one counties of the state shall have thirty-four of the senatorial districts.
"All senatorial districts shall be formed of contiguous and compact territory. In their formation, area shall be the prime consideration.
"The senatorial districts shall be numbered one, two, three, and so forth, including fifty-eight. Each such district shall elect one senator, whose term of office shall be four years. Senators elected in districts bearing even numbers shall be elected in 1956 and every four years thereafter; and senators elected in districts bearing odd numbers shall be elected in 1958 and every four years thereafter."
The proposed amendment was approved by the voters at the general election on November 2, 1954. The official statutory explanation of the proposed amendment given to the voters is clearly an aid in determining the ...