right to be a candidate is certainly intertwined with these two
fundamental rights together with right to freedom of choice for
voters, the regulation in question here does not restrict the
plaintiff's right to associate with any political party or
interest, nor does it restrict the voter's rights to advance a
candidate (as opposed to a particular candidate). See e.g.,
Tribe, American Constitutional Law 775 (1978). Therefore, the
Court rejects the argument that subsection (6) infringes a
fundamental right which would compel strict scrutiny analysis.
Rejecting the strict scrutiny analysis does not, however,
automatically compel the use of the rational basis test. In
Anderson v. Celebrezze, 460 U.S. 780, 103 S.Ct. 1564, 75
L.Ed.2d 547 (1983), the Supreme Court invalidated an Ohio statute
requiring early filing deadlines for independent presidential
candidates by employing a balancing test. The Supreme Court
balanced the degree of impact of the ballot restriction on the
rights infringed against the interests asserted by the state and
the relationship between the restriction and this interest.
Likewise, in Clements, a plurality of the Court seemingly
employed a balancing test to uphold a Texas constitutional
provision that restricted a public official's ability to become a
candidate for a public office other than the one he already had.
Some commentators have urged that this balancing process, which
would fall into the category of an intermediary test, should be
employed to analyze such candidacy restrictions. Nowak, Rotunda,
& Young, Constitutional Law 778 (2d ed. 1983). In the present
case, the Court need not get caught up in this constitutional
debate, because in its opinion, the subsection does not survive
even minimal scrutiny under the rational basis test.
Under the rational basis test, the subsection would withstand
constitutional challenge if it were rationally related to a
legitimate state interest. At the hearing, the defendants
advanced the position that the subsection was designed to ensure
that those individuals running for Regional Superintendent of
Schools be at least minimally familiar with the Illinois public
school system. The defendants conceded, however, that an
individual who taught for two of his last four years at the
kindergarten level for a Chicago inner city public school would,
if all the other requirements were met, qualify for the position
of Regional Superintendent of Schools for Madison County,
Illinois. The defendants further conceded that, in some cases,
the disparity between any two school districts in Illinois could,
and in many cases is, greater than the disparity between a school
district in Madison County and one in Missouri. Based on these
concessions, the defendants attempted to clarify that the State
had an interest in ensuring that the candidates have a
familiarity with the Illinois School Code and other Illinois
school regulations. This is the only interest set forth by the
defendants. The defendants agreed that teaching at a common
public school would not, by itself, achieve this interest, but
that because all teachers are supposedly required to attend four
days of seminars a year on topics touching on Illinois school
regulations, the requirement in the subsection indirectly ensures
the State's objective.
The Court does not necessarily agree that the State interest
involved here is legitimate. The State would certainly have a
right to require that the Regional Superintendent be familiar
with the Illinois School Code and other regulations if that job
concerned such matters. However, Dr. Boyd Mitchell, a former two
time superintendent of schools, testified that any legal matter
concerning the Code or other regulations would immediately be
referred to the Office of Legal Counsel for the State Board of
Education. Arguably, the Regional Superintendent would have to be
familiar enough with the Code and the regulations to know when a
legal question is presented.
Assuming that the purported interest is legitimate, the Court
fails to see how the specific requirement in question here
rationally relates to that interest. As indicated above, the
requirement at best only indirectly achieves its purposes. Dr.
testified that, in his opinion, an individual such as the
plaintiff, whose most recent experience was teaching in
Hazelwood, Missouri, would be as qualified, assuming all else
being equal, to serve as Regional Superintendent in Madison
County as an individual whose most recent experience teaching was
in Chicago. The rationale behind this opinion was that the
Hazelwood and Madison County School Districts are more similar
than Madison County and Cook County School Districts. Dr.
Mitchell further indicated that, in his opinion, Illinois public
school teachers, as a whole, are not that familiar with the
Illinois School Code because such matters do not touch on their
immediate job of teaching. Finally, as a practical matter, he
indicated that most state school codes are similar.
While not attempting to engage in any least restrictive means
analysis, the Court can think of a number of more rational, and
less restrictive means to achieve its stated objective. In the
instant case, the Court believes that after analyzing the stated
interest and the requirement that attempts to achieve that
interest, subsection (6) is unconstitutional because it is not
rationally related to the state interest. Implicit in this
holding is the Court's opinion that the rational basis test is
not merely a device designed to achieve judgment for the
defendant. Even under this low tier analysis, the statute in
question must rationally and logically relate to the interest of
the State. Such an indirect and tenuous relationship, as here,
does not meet this low test. If the plaintiff's lack of Illinois
teaching experience is important, the voters would reflect this
concern through their vote. It is ironic to note that the
position of State Superintendent of Education, the chief
education office in Illinois, does not require prior teaching
experience in Illinois. In fact, the present State Superintendent
does not have any such experience. Nor do the members of the
State Board of Education have to meet this requirement. See
generally Ill. Rev.Stat. ch. 122, ¶ 1A-1 et al. The plaintiff
acquired an administrative certificate with a superintendent's
endorsement, so that apparently this credential also does not
require prior Illinois teaching experience.
Although a discussion of the plaintiff's privileges and
immunities clause argument is unnecessarily based on the above,
the Court deems it appropriate to make a few comments. First, the
subsection in question does not deprive the plaintiff his right
to pursue his profession of teaching outside of Illinois. Second,
the subsection treats both Illinois and non-Illinois residents
equal; both must have prior Illinois teaching experience.
Finally, unlike the typical privileges and immunities situation,
Illinois is preventing one of its own citizens who wishes to run
for the office from working outside of Illinois. Therefore, the
Court does not believe that the privileges and immunities clause
is relevant to this case.
Accordingly, the Court holds that Ill.Rev. Stat. ch. 122, ¶
3-1(6) is unconstitutional as mentioned above. The Court
therefore GRANTS the plaintiff's request for a permanent relief.
The Court hereby ORDERS the Illinois State Board of Education to
issue a certificate of eligibility to the plaintiff. The Court
further ORDERS Evelyn Bowles, in her capacity as County Clerk for
Madison County, Illinois, to accept plaintiff's nominating
petition to stand for the office of Regional Superintendent of
schools. The Court hereby DIRECTS the Clerk of the Court to enter
final judgment for the plaintiff and against the defendants. The
plaintiff is ORDERED to submit his application for attorney's
fees and costs pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1988 within ten (10) days
from the date of this order.
IT IS SO ORDERED.
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