closely tracked the Hastert configuration of the minority districts. However, similarities to the final Hastert plan notwithstanding, the Chicago Urban League plaintiffs chose to proceed on the basis of their own separate map. Moreover, the Chicago Urban League did not address the merits of their proposal within the larger context of the adoption of a new state-wide plan, the principal issue before the court. Thus, although the court characterized the Chicago Urban League map as effectively adopting the Hastert configuration of certain African-American super-majority districts, see Hastert, slip op. at 62, the court did not adopt the separate Chicago Urban League plan. Therefore, the Chicago Urban League plaintiffs are not a "prevailing party" on any significant issue.
The remaining movants, the Hastert and Nieves plaintiffs, are "prevailing parties" for purposes of § 19731(e) and 1988. This court ultimately adopted the congressional district plan submitted by the Hastert plaintiffs. The Nieves plaintiffs formally adopted the Hastert plan and clearly played a critical role in its development. Indeed, the pre-trial activities of both the Hastert and Rosebrook plaintiffs involved attempts to satisfy the Nieves plaintiffs' goal of establishing Illinois' first Hispanic super-majority district. Additionally, the Nieves plaintiffs provided the only truly substantive evidence and legal analysis regarding the establishment of an Hispanic super-majority district. Thus, the adoption of the Hastert plan rendered both the Hastert and Nieves plaintiffs prevailing parties on the significant issues in litigation.
As noted above, prevailing parties should ordinarily recover fees except where "special circumstances" would render a fee award "unjust." Hensley, 461 U.S. at 429. Two factors have been considered in determining "if a case involves 'special circumstances' that would make an award 'unjust': (1) whether allowing attorney's fees in a particular case would further the congressional purpose in adopting the [fee] Acts, and (2) the balance of the equities." Seattle School Dist. v. Washington, 633 F.2d 1338, 1348 (9th Cir. 1980) (citations omitted), aff'd, 458 U.S. 457, 73 L. Ed. 2d 896, 102 S. Ct. 3187 (1982).
The principal congressional purpose behind the enactment of the attorneys' fees provision of §§ 19731(e) and 1988 is reflected in Congress' observation that "in many cases arising under our civil rights laws, the citizen who must sue to enforce the law has little or no money with which to hire a lawyer." S. Rep. 1011 at 2, reprinted in 1976 U.S. Code Cong. & Admin. News at 5910; see also S. Rep. 925 at 43 & n.47, reprinted in 1975 U.S. Code Cong. & Admin. News at 809-10. As a result, fee awards are often "an essential remedy if private citizens are to have a meaningful opportunity to vindicate the important Congressional policies" embodied in civil rights legislation. Id.; see also S. Rep. 925 at 41, reprinted in 1975 U.S. Code Cong. & Admin. News at 808. Congress' primary purpose in providing attorney's fees in civil rights litigation, therefore, was "to eliminate financial barriers to the vindication of constitutional rights" and thereby "stimulate voluntary compliance with the law." Seattle School Dist., 633 F.2d at 1348 (citation omitted). Awarding fees to the Hastert and Nieves plaintiffs would not advance this congressional purpose.
The Hastert plaintiffs collectively comprise the entire Republican Party contingent of the current Illinois congressional delegation. The Nieves plaintiffs include in their ranks two Chicago aldermen, an Illinois state senator and other community leaders. Plaintiffs therefore do not appear to be drawn from the ranks of the disempowered and financially disadvantaged citizenry that Congress had in mind when enacting §§ 19731(e) and 1988. The same observation applies to various other plaintiffs in these consolidated proceedings. For instance, the principal Collins plaintiffs are two Democratic Party members of the Illinois congressional delegation. Additionally, it appeared that the Rosebrook plaintiffs acted as nominal plaintiffs on behalf of the Democratic Party and various other Democratic members of the current Illinois congressional delegation.
The identity of the plaintiffs in this consolidated action, particularly the principal plaintiffs, suggests that plaintiffs merely shifted the legislative lobbying process that typically attends congressional redistricting to a federal judicial arena. To the extent this move was necessary, blame must be traced in part to the unwillingness of many of the parties to this action, in addition to their state legislative counterparts, to grapple with the issue of congressional redistricting in its intended arena, the state legislature. The present action did not involve a review of the constitutionality of a state-endorsed plan. Instead, the real issues in dispute involved arguments over how Illinois' congressional district lines should be drawn. That issue often involved parochial interests and partisan political concerns that are typically legislative matters.
Plaintiffs would have had to bear their own costs had they fully pursued the redistricting process in the state legislature. It would be inequitable to shift the burden of bearing the costs for plaintiffs' lobbying efforts to the State of Illinois and thus the taxpayers merely because the parties moved the pursuit of their political interests to a federal court under the civil rights laws. Accordingly, the balance of equities presents special circumstances warranting a denial of a fee award.
These observations are not meant to detract from the admirable efforts undertaken by the various plaintiffs once the issue of congressional redistricting was moved to this forum. We merely point out the consequences of the Illinois legislature's failure to formulate congressional redistricting plans over the years. See Hastert, slip op. at 13 & n.6. The admirable work of the parties in the present action more appropriately should have been carried out in the halls of the state legislature. The prevailing parties should not now receive a fee award for expenses that they would not have been able to recoup had they resolved their differences in the legislative forum.
One final administrative matter requires our attention. On July 31, 1991, the court ordered the immediate publication of notice of these proceedings in daily newspapers around the State of Illinois. The published notice invited participation by any interested group or individual. At the time the court issued its order, the Hastert and Nieves actions had been filed and consolidated. The Rosebrook and Collins plaintiffs had filed their separate related actions, with consolidation following soon after. To achieve immediate compliance with the court's notice order, the Hastert plaintiffs undertook the administrative and financial burden of publishing the required notice. The Hastert plaintiffs now seek partial reimbursement for the costs of the necessary courtesy it extended to the other plaintiffs. The costs of the required notice should be divided equally among the Hastert, Nieves, Rosebrook and Collins parties. Publication of notice was ordered to advance the disposition of the claims of these plaintiffs who had filed the only claims at the time notice of publication was ordered.
Plaintiffs' Fed. R. Civ. P. 59(e) motions to amend or alter judgment to permit an award of attorney's fees is denied. The costs of notice of publication ordered by this court on July 31, 1991 shall be divided equally among the Hastert, Nieves, Rosebrook and Collins plaintiffs.
January 17, 1992