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11/21/88 United Citizens of Chicago v. Coalition To Let the

November 21, 1988

UNITED CITIZENS OF CHICAGO AND ILLINOIS ET AL., APPELLANTS

v.

COALITION TO LET THE PEOPLE DECIDE IN 1989 ET AL., APPELLEES



SUPREME COURT OF ILLINOIS

531 N.E.2d 802, 125 Ill. 2d 332, 126 Ill. Dec. 175 1988.IL.1680

Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County, the Hon. Eugene Wachowski, Judge, presiding.

APPELLATE Judges:

JUSTICE CUNNINGHAM delivered the opinion of the court.

DECISION OF THE COURT DELIVERED BY THE HONORABLE JUDGE CUNNINGHAM

On April 7, 1987, Harold Washington was elected to a second four-year term as mayor of Chicago. Mayor Washington took the oath of office and began his term on May 4, 1987. On November 25, 1987, with 41 months remaining in his term, Mayor Washington died. Pursuant to section 21-5.1 of the Illinois Municipal Code, the vice mayor, Alderman David Orr, became the interim mayor. (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1985, ch. 24, par. 21-5.1.) On December 1, 1987, the Chicago city council declared the office of mayor vacated and then elected Eugene Sawyer as acting mayor on December 2, 1987. (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1985, ch. 24, par. 3-4-6.) Eugene Sawyer continues to serve as acting mayor.

On March 23, 1988, the Coalition to Let the People Decide in 1989 (the Coalition) petitioned the Chicago Board of Election Commissioners (the Board), requesting the Board to schedule an election in 1989 to fill the existing mayoral vacancy. On April 5, 1988, the Board met but did not decide the issue. When the Coalition filed an action against the Board and the city clerk seeking declaratory and injunctive relief, Alderman Bobby Rush, Jesse Miller and Nancy Jefferson joined the Coalition. On April 11, 1988, Alderman David Orr sought leave to intervene in favor of the Coalition.

On April 19, the United Citizens of Chicago and Illinois (United Citizens) with Kenneth Hurst filed a separate action against the city and State Board of Election Commissioners and the Illinois State Board of Elections (State Board) and others in the circuit court of Cook County, seeking to enjoin the holding of any election to fill the mayoral vacancy. Later, on April 27, the Midwest Voter Registration Education Project (Midwest Voter) also petitioned to intervene in both causes. On April 28, the Coalition petitioned to intervene in the United Citizens action. On April 26 and 28, the League of Women Voters of Chicago (League) and the Chicago Council of Lawyers (Council) filed amicus curiae memoranda of law in support of the Coalition in both actions. The circuit court consolidated the two actions and ordered briefs on the issue. Later, United Citizens filed a motion for summary judgment.

On May 2, 1988, the city clerk certified to the Board the city council's declaration of a vacancy in the office of the mayor of the City of Chicago. On May 3, the Board formally agreed to conduct a special mayoral primary election on February 28, 1989, and a mayoral general election on April 4, 1989. Subsequently, on May 6, 1988, the circuit court entered its finding and ordered:

"1. In light of the City Clerk's certification of the City Council's declaration of a vacancy, and the Chicago Board of Election Commissioners express agreement to conduct special elections on February 28, 1989 and April 4, 1989, the Coalition's Petition (No. 88 Co 118) is hereby dismissed as moot.

2. The Midwest Voter Registration and Education Project is granted leave to intervene as a defendant in No. 88 Co. 127.

3. The United Citizens' motion for summary judgment is denied; the defendants and intervening defendants' motion to dismiss is granted; and judgment is entered in favor of the defendants and intervening defendants, for the reasons set out in the Court's Memorandum Order, to be filed forthwith.

4. This order disposes of all issues and thus is final and appealable."

Kenneth Hurst and United Citizens appealed pursuant to Supreme Court Rule 302(b) (107 Ill. 2d R. 302(b)). The motion of United Citizens to supplement its reply brief, ...


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