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GRIVETTI v. ILLINOIS STATE ELECTORAL BOARD

December 10, 1971

JOHN A. GRIVETTI, JR., ET AL.
v.
ILLINOIS STATE ELECTORAL BOARD ET AL. INDEPENDENT VOTERS OF ILLINOIS ET AL. V. JOHN W. LEWIS ET AL. VILLAGE OF ARLINGTON HEIGHTS ET AL. V. JOHN W. LEWIS ET AL. VILLAGE OF OAK PARK ET AL. V. JOHN W. LEWIS ET AL. CITY OF EVANSTON ET AL. V. JOHN W. LEWIS ET AL. VILLAGE OF SKOKIE ET AL. V. JOHN W. LEWIS ET AL.



Before Sprecher, Circuit Judge, and Austin and Napoli, District Judges.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Sprecher, Circuit Judge.

  These six consolidated cases prayed for the convening of a three-judge court under 28 U.S.C. § 2281 and 2284 for the purpose of (1) holding either that Article IV, section 3(b) of the 1970 Constitution of the State of Illinois, S.H.A., providing for the appointment of a legislative redistricting commission, is unconstitutional or that the commission appointed thereunder is without constitutional authority to redistrict or that the redistricting plan adopted by the commission fails to meet federal constitutional standards; (2) enjoining elections of members of the Illinois general assembly under the commission plan; and (3) drawing of a new map by this court.

LEGISLATIVE REDISTRICTING BY COMMISSION

On December 15, 1970, the people of the State of Illinois adopted a new constitution providing that the legislative power of the state is vested in a general assembly consisting of a senate and house of representatives elected from 59 legislative districts, one senator for a four-year term and three representatives for two-year terms to be elected from each legislative district (Art. IV, §§ 1, 2(a) and 2(b)).

The Constitution of 1970 provides that legislative districts shall be compact, contiguous and substantially equal in population (Art. IV, § 3(a)).

In the year following each federal decennial census year, the general assembly shall redistrict the legislative districts, but if it fails to do so by June 30, a legislative redistricting commission shall be constituted not later than July 10, consisting of eight members, no more than four being of the same political party. The speaker and minority leader of the house of representatives shall each appoint one representative and one person who is not a member of the general assembly. The president and minority leader of the senate shall each appoint one senator and one non-legislator (Art. IV, § 3(b)).

Not later than August 10, the Legislative Redistricting Commission shall file with the Secretary of State of Illinois a redistricting plan approved by at least five members (Art. IV, § 3(b)).

A federal census was duly taken in the decennial census year of 1970.

Section 3 of Article IV of the 1970 Constitution, which provides for legislative redistricting, became effective January 15, 1971 (Transition Schedule, § 10). The Transition Schedule provided further: "For purposes of appointing members of a Legislative Redistricting Commission in 1971, the President Pro Tempore of the Senate shall have the appointing power vested by Section 3(b) of Article IV in the President of the Senate."

The Illinois General Assembly failed to redistrict the state legislative districts by June 30, 1971.

On August 7, 1971, the Legislative Redistricting Commission filed a redistricting plan (August 7 plan), describing the 59 districts in terms of counties, townships, cities and villages where those boundaries were used, in terms of legal descriptions in some instances, and, particularly in Cook County and other heavily populated counties in the metropolitan Chicago area, in terms of "census tracts," "block groups" and "enumeration districts" as those terms are defined in the 1970 census of population. The August 7 plan was duly filed with the Secretary of State as approved by six of the eight members of the commission, members Clarke and Stratton not approving.

THE PLAINTIFFS AND THEIR CONTENTIONS

The complaint in No. 71 C 1955 was filed on August 9, 1971, by John A. Grivetti, Jr., a resident of the State of Illinois, as a class action on behalf of himself and all other Illinois residents, challenging the August 7 plan as violating the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States by containing districts which are not compact, contiguous or representative of a "genuine community of interest," which are grossly misshapen and "appear to be classic cases of gerrymandering" and which were drawn "without proper consideration of traditional political boundaries."

The complaint in No. 71 C 2056 was filed on August 23, 1971, by Independent Voters of Illinois (IVI), a voluntary state-wide association of Illinois voters, by an individual independent voter who is also a former and prospective independent candidate for elective public office suing on behalf of himself and all prospective independent candidates, and by an individual independent voter suing on behalf of himself and all independent voters and voter-supporters of independent candidates for public office. IVI challenged the August 7 plan on the ground that Article IV, section 3(b) of the 1970 Constitution is unconstitutional in that it creates a legislative redistricting commission controlled by the two major political parties and favors voters and elected officials affiliated with those two parties contrary to the Fourteenth Amendment and places a premium on major party affiliation contrary to the First Amendment.

Upon oral argument before this court, IVI's counsel explained that IVI contends principally that the Illinois constitutional provision is invalid as a federally unconstitutional delegation of legislative power to the redistricting commission.

The remaining four complaints, filed by four municipal corporations established under Illinois law and performing governmental functions, challenged the August 7 plan on grounds substantially common to all.

The complaint in No. 71 C 2203 was filed on September 8, 1971, by the Village of Arlington Heights, by the president and village trustees and by a member of the Sixth Constitutional Convention which adopted the proposed 1970 Constitution, all residents of Arlington Heights and voters, suing on behalf of themselves as officials and individuals and on behalf of all residents of Arlington Heights.

The complaint in No. 71 C 2245 was filed on September 13 by the Village of Oak Park and by the president and village trustees, all residents of Oak Park and voters, suing as officials and individuals and on behalf of all residents of Oak Park.

The complaint in No. 71 C 2392 was filed on October 4 by the City of Evanston, by the mayor and aldermen and by the Republican and Democratic township committeemen for Evanston Township, all residents of Evanston and voters, suing as officials and individuals and on behalf of all residents of Evanston.

The complaint in No. 71 C 2497 was filed on October 18 by the Village of Skokie and by the president, clerk and village trustees, all residents of Skokie and voters, suing as officials and individuals and on behalf of all residents of Skokie.

The 1970 federal census of population shows that the population of Evanston is 79,808; of Skokie, 68,627; of Arlington Heights, 64,884; and of Oak Park, 62,511. Since the 1970 population of the State of Illinois is 11,113,976, the average population of each of 59 legislative districts would be 188,372 persons. Inasmuch as each of the four municipalities would comfortably fit within the population limits of an average legislative district, the municipalities' chief complaint against the August 7 plan was that each has been so chopped up that Arlington Heights finds itself in four separate legislative districts, Skokie and Oak Park are in three separate districts and Evanston is in two districts.

The municipalities pointed out that under the 1970 Constitution each is a home rule unit (a municipality with more than 25,000 population) entitled to exercise a wide range of broad powers and functions, to regulate for the protection of public health, safety, morals and welfare, to license for regulatory purposes, to tax and to incur debt, all as set forth in Article VII, section 6, of the Constitution.

Additionally, elections in Oak Park and Skokie are traditionally held on a non-partisan basis. The same boundary lines delineate not only the Village of Oak Park but also the Township of Oak Park, the Park District of Oak Park and School District Number 97. The same boundary lines delineate not only the Village of Skokie but also the Skokie Public Library and the Skokie Park District.

The municipalities further alleged that extensive gerrymandering was required to divide them into separate districts, that the resultant districts were not compact nor representative of communities of interest, that the municipalities' respective electorates were diminished and diluted, that traditional political boundary lines were ignored, that the common interests of municipal citizenry were rendered impotent, that the motive behind the August 7 plan was to perpetuate incumbent members of the Illinois General Assembly in office, and that these facts severally and collectively violate the First and Fourteenth Amendments.

The municipalities also charged that the legislative districts in the August 7 plan are not contiguous as required by the Illinois Constitution nor equal in population as required by the Illinois and federal constitutions.

They further charged that the appointment of Messrs. Blair, Choate, Partee, Donenfeld, Kane and Bodewes (the six members of the Legislative Redistricting Commission who approved the August 7 plan) violated the Illinois Constitution since Blair, Choate and Partee were not authorized to appoint themselves and since Donenfeld, Kane and Bodewes were the respective legislative aids of Blair, Choate and Partee, were employees of the General Assembly and were alter egos of the persons who appointed them.

The municipalities, as well as IVI, further charged that the creation of the Legislative Redistricting Commission violates the Fourteenth Amendment because its members were appointed without regard for one-man-one-vote principles. The municipalities also charged, as did IVI, that the commission is necessarily dominated by Republicans and Democrats to the exclusion of independent voters and in violation of their rights. Oak Park also ...


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