United States District Court, Northern District of Illinois, E.D
October 31, 1966
SHERMAN H. SKOLNICK AND DICK GREGORY, PLAINTIFFS,
OTTO KERNER, AS GOVERNOR OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS AND CHAIRMAN OF THE STATE ELECTORAL BOARD, PAUL POWELL, AS SECRETARY OF STATE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS AND SECRETARY OF THE STATE ELECTORAL BOARD, WILLIAM G. CLARK, AS ATTORNEY GENERAL OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS AND MEMBER OF THE STATE ELECTORAL BOARD, WILLIAM J. SCOTT, AS TREASURER OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS AND MEMBER OF THE STATE ELECTORAL BOARD, AND MICHAEL J. HOWLETT, AS AUDITOR OF PUBLIC ACCOUNTS OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS AND MEMBER OF THE STATE ELECTORAL BOARD OF ILLINOIS, DEFENDANTS.
Before Hastings, Chief Circuit Judge, Campbell, Chief
District Judge, and Decker, District Judge.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Decker, District Judge.
This is the second suit filed in this Court attacking the
Illinois Constitution's provisions for election of Judges of
the Supreme Court.*fn1 The core of the complaint is that
residents of Cook County, Illinois, are deprived of federally
protected rights under the present election system. We dealt
in detail with this problem in Romiti v. Kerner, 256 F. Supp. 35
(N.D.Ill. 1966), in which we dismissed the complaint.*fn2
Defendants have filed motions to dismiss on the ground that
Romiti fully and conclusively disposes of all of the issues in
this case. We agree.
The basic facts of Romiti and the present case are identical;
no purpose will be served by repeating them here.*fn3
most part, the complaint rests on the same theory as the Romiti
complaint and must be controlled by our decision in that case.
In particular, the present complaint seeks no more than
immediate implementation of the new Article VI of the Illinois
Constitution; as in Romiti, no challenge is raised to the
constitutionality of that provision, once it takes full effect.
A single additional argument is raised by the present
plaintiffs; the complaint states it, as follows:
"Plaintiff Sherman H. Skolnick is a United
States citizen of a minority
group, namely of the Jewish faith and race and
plaintiff Dick Gregory is a United States citizen
likewise of a minority group, namely of the Negro
race. Plaintiffs Sherman H. Skolnick and Dick
Gregory bring this suit furthermore on behalf of
themselves and on behalf of other citizens
"In the State of Illinois, the bulk of those
persons who are of a minority race or religion
reside in the First Judicial District, the County
of Cook, and are either of the Jewish faith and
race or are non-white.
"The present malapportioned Judicial
Districting scheme freezes out, debases, dilutes,
frustrates, and nullifies the vote for Supreme
Court Justices of 95% of those in the State of
Illinois who are, like plaintiff Sherman H.
Skolnick, of the Jewish faith and race, and 83%
of those in the State of Illinois who are, like
plaintiff Dick Gregory, of the non-white race."
While Romiti alleged debasement of votes of all Cook County
plaintiffs allege debasement only of the votes of
Cook County Negroes and Jews. This single difference in the
complaints is urged as sufficient for granting here the relief
denied in Romiti.
The proposition hardly survives its statement. The whole
right of a voter under the fourteenth amendment is the right
to equal treatment with all other voters in the exercise of
his franchise. We have held that Romiti and all similarly
situated Cook County voters are so treated in elections for
Supreme Court judges. To avoid the Romiti result, plaintiffs
must show that they are in a different position than Romiti
with respect to their votes. This plaintiffs cannot do merely
by showing their race or religion. To support a claim based on
racial or religious distinctions, plaintiffs must show, at the
very least, that they are treated differently from other
voters. But, they are treated identically with Romiti and all
other Cook County voters who, in turn, are treated with
sufficient equality with all other Illinois voters to preclude
a claim of denial of constitutional rights. Negroes, Jews and
Romiti are similarly situated with respect to their votes for
judges of the Illinois Supreme Court: they are voters in Cook
County. Consequently, plaintiffs cannot avoid the result in
The present complaint, unlike the Romiti complaint, claims a
denial of rights in the use of the new Appellate Court
districts adopted in the 1962 amendment to the Judicial Article
of the Constitution. The claim is clearly groundless. The new
first judicial district, with slightly more than half of the
State's population, is assigned 12 of the State's 24 Appellate
Court judges. The United States Constitution requires nothing
more than this even allocation.
We hold that the present case is controlled by our prior
decision in Romiti v. Kerner. For this reason, the motions of
defendants to dismiss the complaint are granted, and the cause
is dismissed with prejudice.