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People Ex Rel. Scott v. Grivetti

OPINION FILED DECEMBER 17, 1971.

THE PEOPLE EX REL. WILLIAM J. SCOTT, ATTORNEY GENERAL, PETITIONER,

v.

JOHN A. GRIVETTI ET AL., RESPONDENTS.



Original petition for declaratory judgment.

PER CURIAM:

Decision of this case was announced by our order of December 10, 1971, released simultaneously with the opinion of the three-judge Federal court composed of Circuit Judge Sprecher and District Judges Austin and Napoli. Our December 10 order expressed to Judges Sprecher, Austin and Napoli our appreciation for their cooperation in accomplishing an expeditious resolution of the problems concurrently presented to both courts. That order indicated an opinion would be filed setting forth the reasons for the conclusions which we reached. This is that opinion.

This is an original action which presents for our consideration the question of the constitutional validity of the decennial redistricting plan for Illinois House and Senate districts filed with the Secretary of State by the Legislative Redistricting Commission. Six other actions challenging the redistricting of the Illinois legislative districts were pending in the Federal District Court for the Northern District of Illinois at the time of commencement of these proceedings. All of the plaintiffs in those actions have been impleaded as respondents in this case, and it appears that all substantive issues before the Federal court are also raised in this proceeding. In view of the recognized state judicial power "to require valid reapportionment or to formulate a valid redistricting plan" (Scott v. Germano, 381 U.S. 407, 409, 14 L.Ed.2d 477, 85 S.Ct. 1525), and because the date for filing of nominating petitions for the House and Senate was fast approaching we expedited the hearing and disposition of this case.

The method of redistricting the State legislative districts is set forth in section 3(b) of article IV of the 1970 constitution. That section provides in relevant part that "in the year following each Federal decennial census year, the General Assembly by law shall redistrict the Legislative Districts. If no redistricting plan becomes effective by June 30 of that year, a Legislative Redistricting Commission shall be constituted not later than July 10. The Commission shall consist of eight members, no more than four of whom shall be members of the same political party." With regard to the manner of selection of the Commission, the constitution provides that "the Speaker and Minority Leader of the House of Representatives shall each appoint to the Commission 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 to the Commission one Senator and one person who is not a member of the General Assembly." Section 3(b) further states that "not later than August 10, the Commission shall file with the Secretary of State a redistricting plan approved by at least five members." It is also provided that "an approved redistricting plan filed with the Secretary of State shall be presumed valid, shall have the force and effect of law and shall be published promptly by the Secretary of State."

The 77th General Assembly failed to redistrict itself prior to June 30, 1971, following the decennial census year of 1970. Accordingly, a Legislative Redistricting Commission was constituted. The Speaker and Minority Leader of the House of Representatives and the President Pro-Tem of the Senate each appointed themselves to the Commission and also appointed their respective legislative aides as non-General Assembly members of the Commission. The Minority Leader of the Senate appointed another Senator of his choice to the Commission and also appointed another individual as a non-General Assembly member of the Commission. Thus constituted, the Commission adopted a redistricting plan and filed it with the Secretary of State prior to the August 10, 1971, deadline. It is this plan which is now before us for review.

The five primary issues raised in oral argument and in the pleadings filed by the various parties herein may be summarized as follows: (1) Is section 3(b) of article IV of our constitution violative of the Federal constitution in that it places the selection of the Redistricting Commission under the control of the majority and minority leaders of the House and Senate; (2) Was the Legislative Redistricting Commission properly selected in accordance with section 3(b) of article IV of the constitution; (3) Did the redistricting plan meet the State and Federal "one man-one vote" constitutional requirement and the further requirement of the Illinois constitution that all districts be compact and contiguous; (4) Is the redistricting plan invalid in that it does not adhere strictly to traditional and political boundaries; and (5) What is the effect of certain "corrections to the redistricting plan filed with the Secretary of State by members of the Legislative Redistricting Commission on November 5, 1971?

As to the first issue, certain of the respondents contend that section 3(b) of article IV of our constitution is violative of the first amendment and the equal protection clause of the fourteenth amendment to the constitution of the United States in that it places control over the redistricting process in the hands of the major party leaders and excludes any participation by representatives of other political parties or independent voters; i.e., there is a denial of access to reapportionment proceedings to all persons who are not affiliated with, or members of, the two major parties. On its face section 3(b) neither restricts membership on the Commission to particular political parties or persons claiming particular interests nor does it exclude them. More importantly, however, there has been no showing in this case of how the provisions in question have any legally harmful effect on respondents. Respondents imply that unless they take part in the selection of the Legislative Redistricting Commission their interests will not be represented on the Commission with the result that any redistricting plan adopted by the Commission inevitably will discriminate against them. This argument is highly speculative and abstract and, in our opinion, does not provide any basis for a legal remedy. If every group having particular political viewpoints or alleging particular interests was required to be directly involved in the selection of the Commission or directly represented on the Commission itself, it is obvious that the group selecting the Commission and the Commission itself would reach almost boundless and unworkable proportions. It must also be remembered that section 3(b) places initial responsibility in the legislature to adopt a redistricting plan. At this stage the redistricting process is entirely under the control of a body elected by all the people. Only when the legislature fails to fulfill its duty to redistrict does the smaller, eight member Legislative Redistricting Commission come into being to accomplish that task. In our opinion, this is neither an unreasonable nor discriminatory method of attempting to provide a solution to legislative nonfeasance. Also, in drawing the districts, the Commission is clearly bound by section 3(a) of article IV which provides that "legislative districts shall be compact, contiguous and substantially equal in population." If the Commission complies with this constitutional mandate, a matter which is subject to judicial review, then all voters of the State of Illinois will thereafter have an equal voice in electing State legislators. We conclude that section 3(b) of article IV of the constitution on its face is not violative of the first amendment and the equal protection clause of the fourteenth amendment to the United States constitution and does not infringe upon any constitutionally protected interests of the respondents in this case.

It is also argued that section 3(b) of article IV of the constitution reflects an improper delegation of legislative power. The answer to this contention is that we are not here concerned with a State legislative enactment which purports to delegate functions of a legislative nature, but rather with a provision of our State constitution which expressly directs the redistricting of the legislature by the Legislative Redistricting Commission in accordance with specified standards. It is clear that no real delegation of power question under either the State or Federal constitutions is involved in this case.

It is further contended that the Legislative Redistricting Commission created by section 3(b) of article IV was illegally composed in that three of the persons having appointive power appointed not only themselves but also their legislative aides to the Commission.

We agree, for the purpose of section 3(b) of article IV is, in our judgment, completely clear. As originally proposed to the 1970 Constitutional Convention by the committee on the legislature, it provided for a redistricting commission composed of eight members of the legislature, two of whom were to be appointed by the majority leader, and two by the minority leader in each house. That proposal was predicated on the fact that the original committee recommendation excluded the legislature from the reapportionment process. On first reading, however, the procedure was changed to give the legislature the first opportunity to reapportion. Thereafter an amendment, co-sponsored by others, was offered by Delegate Perona, the substantive effect of which was to reduce the legislative representation on the eight-member commission to four, to be selected in the same manner as the original eight. The other four commission members were to be appointed by the same legislative leaders but were to be "person[s] who [are] not" members of the General Assembly.

The explanation of that amendment as given by Delegate Perona in the debates preceding its adoption is in part as follows: "It is the position of the supporters of this amendment, who include myself, Mr. Lewis, Mrs. Reum, Mr. Peccarelli and Mr. Sommerschield, Mrs. Pappas, Mr. Martin, Mrs. Netsch and Mr. Parkhurst, that given the opportunity in the Legislature to have first crack at the process of apportionment that it would be wise in the second step of the process to introduce some nonlegislative members to hopefully, if necessary, bring in a new viewpoint of a little different point of view to the process. This amendment in the place of an eight member legislative commission would substitute four legislative members and four non-legislative members. They would still be appointed by the same persons and the equal party division would remain the same. We feel that this concept is in line with the original concept but because of the change in situation insofar as the procedure, that this would be an advantage and a change that would make sense with this situation in existence." Sixth Illinois Constitutional Convention Debates, Vol. 107, pp. 338-39.

Other delegates in the course of their arguments supporting the subsequently adopted amendment stated the inclusion of the four public members would "inject a little new blood, so to speak, into the process of reapportionment" (Delegate Evans at 341); "I think it's rather ridiculous to have a reapportionment commission which acts after the legislature has failed to reapportion, which is wholly legislative in nature" and the amendment would "put some life back in the process" (Delegate Sommerschield at 342). The Perona amendment was adopted by a vote of 54 to 26.

It is abundantly clear that the intent of the delegates to the 1970 Constitutional Convention was to create a redistricting commission composed of four legislators and four public members, and that their purpose in so doing was to bring into the commission a fresh, perhaps more objective, approach to the apportionment problems which had deadlocked the legislature. By requiring one half of the commission's membership to be individuals not theretofore involved in the legislative redistricting struggles, the prospects of the commission's success were thought to be enhanced.

While appointment to membership on the commission of their legislative aides by the President Pro Tem of the Senate and the Speaker and Minority Leader of the House was a literal compliance with the language of section 3(b), since those aides were not, in the strict sense, "members of the General Assembly," that action was, in reality and in practical effect, a subversion of the purpose of that language. Nor do we believe the action of the President Pro Tem of the Senate and the Speaker and Minority Leader of the House of Representatives in appointing themselves to the commission was authorized by the Constitutional provisions. Had such action been contemplated, section 3(b) would have so stated, particularly when it ...


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