is that applicants must be chief executive officers of municipalities within the region. Id.
In addition to Miller, plaintiffs include four African American mayors of Illinois municipalities, eligible, under Illinois law, for appointment to the PACE Board,
and nine African American residents of the community served by the PACE Board.
When the director for the South Region was convicted of a felony, leaving a vacancy on the Board, Miller, the chief executive officer of a municipality in the region, renewed his outstanding application for the position. Having relayed all relevant information, he was summoned to appear for a meeting of the appointing members of the Cook County Board on August 26, 1993. According to Miller, no notice of the meeting was published.
After Miller arrived, another candidate appeared. Although Miller had not spoken to any of the Cook County Board members, the other candidate, who was white, was invited into a room with at least some of the appointing members of the Cook County Board for an interview or consultation.
The white candidate's name was submitted along with Miller's, and the white candidate was appointed.
Miller, and the other plaintiffs, claim that the appointing members failed to consider or appoint him because of his race. Accordingly, they bring this action under 42 U.S.C. §§ 1981 and 1983
and Title VI, along with a pendent state claim for violation of the Illinois Open Meetings Act, Ill. Rev. Stat. ch 102, P 41 et. seq.. In Count I, plaintiffs ask for a declaration that defendants have been, and are, making appointments to the PACE Board in a racially discriminatory fashion, and an injunction against future discriminatory behavior. Count II charges defendants with violating the Illinois Open Meetings Act by failing to publish notice of and take minutes during the appointment meeting.
A. Judgment on the Pleadings
The RTA and PACE seek judgment on the pleadings with respect to both counts. Once the pleadings are closed, as they are here,
a motion for judgment on the pleadings is appropriate if the court determines that no material issue of fact remains and one party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. National Fidelity Life Ins. Co. v. Karaganis, 811 F.2d 357 (7th Cir. 1987). The RTA and PACE argue that, taking all of the plaintiffs allegations as true, there is no outstanding issue of material fact, and they are entitled to judgment as a matter of law on both counts. We find their arguments persuasive, and grant their motion.
(i) Count I
The RTA and PACE argue that "it is plain from the face of the pleadings that [they] had no involvement in the wrongful actions alleged by the plaintiffs." Def. Brief at p.3. They point out, and plaintiffs do not dispute, that under Illinois law, the RTA and PACE have no authority to appoint members of the PACE Board. Ill. Rev. Stat. ch. 111 2/3, P 703A.02. Instead, the responsibility to fill the vacancy in the South Region lay with the suburban members of the Cook County Board. Id. Given their lack of authority over the appointment process, the two defendants contend that plaintiffs cannot obtain the relief they seek against either the RTA or PACE.
While plaintiffs do not contest the RTA and PACE's lack of formal authority, they argue that because the RTA and PACE "are part of a single authority that mainins [sic] administrative powers of review over the activities and operation of all divisions within the Authority a reasonable inference can be drawn that defendants bear some responsibility for the alleged misconduct." Def. Brief at p. 6. Such a conclusory contention, unsupported by the pleadings, will not suffice to stay judgment on the pleadings.
The Act explicitly denies the RTA and PACE authority to control the appointment of Board members, limiting its domain to that of overseeing the Board's activity once appointed. Absent any role for either the RTA or PACE in the appointment process, relief is not available against them, and we grant judgment on the pleadings in their favor.
(ii) Count II
The RTA and PACE also assert that because plaintiffs fail to allege that they had anything to do with the violation of the Open Meetings Act, we should grant them judgment on the pleadings with respect to Count II. We agree. Neither the RTA nor PACE called the meeting. Under the statute, then, they had no obligation to post notice of the meeting or to ensure that minutes be kept. Accordingly, we grant judgment on the pleadings on Count II in favor of the RTA and PACE.
B. Motion to Dismiss Count I
The individual defendants seek to dismiss Count I on a variety of grounds. We will address them in turn.
Several of the grounds upon which the defendants seek dismissal devolve into the single issue of whether the plaintiffs have standing. Article III of the Constitution requires a party to have standing in order to involve a federal court in litigation. To have standing, a plaintiff "must allege personal injury fairly traceable to the defendant's allegedly unlawful conduct and likely to be redressed by the requested relief." Allen v. Wright, 468 U.S. 737, 104 S. Ct. 3315, 82 L. Ed. 2d 556 (1984). Defendants contend that plaintiffs, including Miller, have failed to allege injury and therefore lack standing. With the exception of Miller, we agree.
Other than Miller, who clearly suffered the direct injury of losing a position on the PACE Board as a result of defendants' alleged racial discrimination,
there are two categories of plaintiffs involved in this action. First, all of the plaintiffs are African American residents of the community served by the PACE Board. Second, four of the plaintiffs are current or former chief executive officers of Illinois municipalities who are eligible for appointment to the PACE Board. In order to assert standing, these plaintiffs must allege a particularized injury which is fairly traceable to defendants' alleged wrongful act.
(a) Community Residents
The community residents claim that the alleged discriminatory failure to appoint Miller has harmed them, but it is not clear whether they believe their rights have been violated by (1) the absence of Miller on the PACE Board, or (2) the allegedly discriminatory appointment process. In either case, the plaintiffs lack standing.
In order to bring a claim under §§ 1981 and 1983, a plaintiff must allege a violation of his constitutional rights, that is, an injury. While plaintiffs have alleged discrimination against Miller, they have not alleged a cognizable violation of their own constitutional rights, or, consequently, an injury. See New Christian Valley M.B. Church v. School Dist. 149, 704 F. Supp. 868 (N.D. Ill. 1989) (while plaintiffs need not be the direct victims of discrimination, they must have suffered injury as a result of defendant's conduct). At bottom, plaintiffs assert that the Cook County Board members have denied them the representation of an African American, of Miller, on the PACE Board. The Constitution, however, does not recognize a right to be represented by a person of a particular race, let alone the right to be represented by a particular person. Rather, the Constitution, and measures such as the Voting Rights Act, guarantee a fair political process. For these reasons, we do not read the complaint to state a violation of the residents' constitutional rights. Without such an injury, the residents have no cause of action under the relevant statutes.
Nor do the residents have standing to assert a claim against the Cook County Board members for subverting the appointment process with racial discrimination. In order to have standing, plaintiffs must assert a particularized grievance. If the grievance is generalized, then plaintiffs lack standing to pursue it. See Schlesinger v. Reservists Committee to Stop the War, 418 U.S. 208, 209, 94 S. Ct. 2925, 41 L. Ed. 2d 706, (1974) (Court ruled that "while standing is not to be denied simply because many people [each] suffer the same injury," a citizen lacks standing if his adverse impact is "'undifferentiated' from that of all other citizens. )
See also Freedom from Religion Foundation, Inc. v. Zielke, 845 F.2d 1463, 1468 (7th Cir. 1988) ("Courts will refrain from 'adjudicating "abstract questions of wide public significance" which amount to "generalized grievances," pervasively shared and most appropriately addressed in the representative branches.'"). When an appointment process is tainted by racial discrimination, all citizens suffer. See, e.g., Powers v. Ohio, 499 U.S. 400 111 S. Ct. 1364, 1365, 113 L. Ed. 2d 411 (1991) (defendant has standing to object to use of discriminatory peremptories regardless of whether his race differs from that of the excluded juror); Peters v. Kiff, 407 U.S. 493, 92 S. Ct. 2163, 33 L. Ed. 2d 83 (1972) (white defendant can bring due process claim when blacks are excluded from juries). Lacking a sufficiently particularized grievance, the community residents do not have standing to pursue this claim, and they are therefore dismissed.
(b) Eligible Appointees
Although they do not have standing as community residents, the four named plaintiffs who are current or past chief executive officers of Illinois municipalities may have standing as eligible appointees. These plaintiffs aver, in their brief, that "once the barriers of racial discrimination have been leveled, each of the named plaintiffs may present themselves for consideration as well." Pl. Brief at p. 14. They pointedly do not allege that they have ever submitted their names for appointment, let alone been rejected. The mayors' assertion exemplifies just the sort of speculative claim that the standing requirement is designed to address. Having never applied for appointment, and, therefore, having never been denied appointment on the basis of their race, no case in controversy exists with respect to these plaintiffs. The mayors, then, also lack standing to bring suit under the civil rights statutes and are dismissed from Count I.
(ii) Failure to State a Claim
The individual defendants contend that Miller's allegations are mere conclusions which fail to sufficiently allege intentional racial discrimination as required by the statutes. Although the elements of the three causes of action vary, all three of the invoked statutes require a plaintiff to allege facts demonstrating racial discrimination. Simmons v. John F. Kennedy Medical Center, 727 F. Supp. 440 (N.D. Ill. 1989) ("To sufficiently state a cause of action under 42 U.S.C. § 1981, the plaintiff must allege some facts that demonstrate that she was discriminated against because of her race."); Patrick v. Staples, 780 F. Supp. 1528 (N.D. Ind. 1991) ("To state a claim under the Equal Protection Clause, a plaintiff must allege that a state actor intentionally discriminated against the plaintiff based upon his or her membership in a protected class.") (citing Shango v. Jurich, 681 F.2d 1091, 1104 (7th Cir. 1982)); 42 U.S.C. § 2000d ("No person in the United States shall, on the grounds of race . . . be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance."). At issue here is whether Miller has sufficiently alleged intentional discrimination.
Although this circuit has previously held civil rights plaintiffs to heightened pleading requirements,
in a recent opinion, the Supreme Court held this practice unconstitutional. Leatherman v. Tarrant County Narcotics Intelligence and Coordination Unit, 122 L. Ed. 2d 517, 1993 U.S. LEXIS 1941, 113 S. Ct. 1160, U.S. S. Ct., No. 91-1657 (March 3, 1993) (§ 1983 cases are governed by the same pleading rules as the majority of other federal civil actions). While there is little detail in the complaint plaintiffs do allege that the white candidate and Miller were treated differently. Miller appeared for the meeting and was left to himself. On the other hand, at least some of the suburban Cook County Board members took the white candidate aside for a discussion or interview. Allegations of this disparate treatment put the defendants on notice of the conduct underlying the claim, and the alleged conduct itself supports an inference that the Cook County Board members treated Miller differently because of his race. Accordingly, plaintiffs have met their burden. See Talley v. Leo J. Shapiro & Assoc., Inc., 713 F. Supp. 254, 257 (N.D. Ill. 1989) (despite lack of factual detail, § 1981 claim met pleading requirements because it provided defendant with notice of plaintiff's claim and the grounds underlying it).
(b) Municipal Custom or Policy under § 1983
In their reply brief, defendants assert that Miller has not, and cannot, allege a county policy or custom as required under § 1983 in official capacity suits. In light of defendants' failure to raise this issue in its motion, we decline to reach it now.
(c) Financial Nexus under Title VI
Title VI provides that
no person in the United States shall, on the ground of race, color, or national origin, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.