for reassignment under Local Rule 2.21D(8).
Finally, the Hastert court did not retain jurisdiction to hear and decide future constitutional challenges to its reapportionment order. The DOJ argued that the Hastert court implicitly retained jurisdiction to enforce or modify its judgment in light of changed circumstances, but the authority it cited concerned the modification of injunctive relief. See System Fed'n No. 91 Ry. Emp. Dept., AFL-CIO, v. Wright, 364 U.S. 642, 647-48, 81 S. Ct. 368, 371, 5 L. Ed. 2d 349 (1961) (district court abused its discretion in refusing to modify consent decree that enjoined a number of specific discriminatory acts); United States v. Swift & Co., 286 U.S. 106, 114, 52 S. Ct. 460, 462, 76 L. Ed. 999 (1932) (court in equity has power to modify an injunction to adapt to changed conditions, even where the injunction was entered by consent decree). This authority is inapposite as the Hastert court issued its reapportionment order pursuant to Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act. To that end, the Hastert court ordered that the court-ordered redistricting plan "shall govern the nomination and election of members of the House of Representatives from the State of Illinois, effective with respect to the 1992 primary and continuing until Illinois congressional districts are reapportioned in accordance with law." Hastert, 777 F. Supp. at 662. The Hastert court thus not only declined to retain jurisdiction to consider subsequent non-party challenges to its reapportionment order but, equally important, it conditionally limited the duration of its order.
See Jackson v. DeSoto Parish Sch. Bd., 585 F.2d 726, 730 n.1 (5th Cir. 1978) ("we note . . . that in reapportionment, unlike school desegregation and institutional reform cases, the court's jurisdiction is not continuing, and the plan, once adopted and acted upon [i.e., an election is held], does not require further judicial supervision").
Accordingly, this court did not transfer King's complaint to the Hastert court for further proceedings under Rule 60(b).
2. Conditional Judicial Notice
Although King was not a party to the Hastert litigation and thus could not be bound by that court's findings of fact or judgment under the doctrines of collateral estoppel or res judicata,11 his complaint both directly and indirectly challenged the Hastert court's findings of fact and judgment. In recognition of the unique nature of King's claim and to expedite the proceedings at trial, this court took judicial notice of the Hastert court's findings of fact under Federal Rule of Evidence 201. See, e.g., Philips Medical Sys. Int'l, B.V. v. Bruetman, 982 F.2d 211, 215 n.2 (7th Cir. 1992) (federal courts may take judicial notice of proceedings, including evidence, in other courts both within and outside of the federal judicial system "if the proceedings have a direct relation to matters at issue"); Green v. Warden, U.S. Penitentiary, 699 F.2d 364, 369 (7th Cir.), cert. denied 461 U.S. 960, 103 S. Ct. 2436, 77 L. Ed. 2d 1321 (1983) (same). More specifically, this court informed the parties that it would admit into evidence the Hastert court's finding of facts and would adopt those findings as conclusive unless King showed by law or otherwise that the Hastert court either erred in making specific findings of fact or that the circumstances had changed since November 1991 such that specific findings of fact were no longer valid and needed to be modified. See Tr., at 36, 652.
This court conditionally admitted the Hastert court's findings of fact through judicial notice for two reasons. First, had King been a party or in privity with a party to the Hastert action, his constitutional challenge of the Hastert court's order and findings of fact would have proceeded under Rule 60(b).
Under Rule 60(b), the Hastert court's findings of fact made pursuant to Rule 52(a) would have been law of the case. See Bennett v. Arrington, 806 F. Supp. 926, 927 n.2 (N.D. Ala. 1992), aff'd in part, rev'd in part on other grounds 20 F.3d 1525 (11th Cir. 1994).
As such, the Hastert court would not have reexamined its factual findings to decide a Rule 60(b) motion unless powerful reasons existed for doing so -- such as the occurrence of manifest error or a controlling or significant change in the factual circumstances.
Since King's lawsuit is at its very core a challenge to the Hastert court's order, this court concluded that King's lack of standing under Rule 60(b) should not determine the standard of review applicable to the Hastert court's findings of fact. The court therefore adopted the standards that would have applied had King sought to modify the Hastert order under Rule 60(b).
The court also conditionally admitted the Hastert court's findings of fact to promote important interests in finality and judicial economy.
To demonstrate that the Hastert court erred in making a specific finding of fact, King has to establish that the court committed clear error.
See Fed. R. Civ. P. 52(a). A finding of fact is "'clearly erroneous' when although there is evidence to support it, the reviewing court on the entire evidence is left with the definite and firm conviction that a mistake has been committed." Anderson v. City of Bessemer City, N.C., 470 U.S. 564, 573, 105 S. Ct. 1504, 1511, 84 L. Ed. 2d 518 (1985) (citation omitted); United States v. United States Gypsum Co., 333 U.S. 364, 395, 68 S. Ct. 525, 542, 92 L. Ed. 746 (1948); United States v. Price, 54 F.3d 342, 348 (7th Cir. 1995). Under this standard, the court must strongly defer to the trier of fact's findings. In re Love, 957 F.2d 1350, 1354 (7th Cir. 1992). As such, "if the trial court's account of the evidence is plausible in light of the record viewed in its entirety, a reviewing court may not reverse even if convinced that it would have weighted the evidence differently as a trier of fact." Id. "Where there are two permissible views of the evidence, the fact-finder's choice between them cannot be clearly erroneous." Anderson, 470 U.S. at 574, 105 S. Ct. at 1511. Accordingly, unless clear error is established, this court will defer to the Hastert court's findings of fact. See Johnson v. Mortham, 915 F. Supp. 1529, 1995 WL 707856 (N.D. Fla. 1995).
Alternatively, King must establish by a preponderance of evidence that specific factual circumstances have changed. See Jackson v. DeSoto Parish Sch. Bd., 585 F.2d 726, 730 (5th Cir. 1978). Once such evidence has been proffered, this court will analyze the particular finding of fact de novo.
In addition to taking judicial notice of the Hastert court's findings of fact, this court took judicial notice of the evidence presented to the Hastert court. (Tr. at 638). The court admitted this evidence for the limited purpose of establishing the evidentiary record upon which the Hastert court relied to make its decision. (Id.). The Hastert court's evidentiary record was not admitted for any other purpose, except where one of the parties individually or jointly moved for the admission of a particular portion of that record.
B. Standard of Review of the Hastert court's Conclusions of Law
An appellate court traditionally reviews a district court's conclusions of law de novo. See Apostol v. Landau, 957 F.2d 339, 341 (7th Cir. 1992). Under this standard, the appellate court is not bound by the district court's legal conclusions but instead examines the law "anew." Lulich v. Sherwin-Williams Co., 992 F.2d 719, 721 (7th Cir. 1993); Black's Law Dict. 392 (5th ed. 1979). Although this court is not an appellate court, the nature of King's complaint requires it to review the Hastert court's legal conclusions. Under these circumstances, this court adopted the law of the case doctrine as the standard of review for the Hastert court's legal conclusions. As with a motion to vacate or modify a judgment under Rule 60(b), this court will not disturb the Hastert court's conclusions of law but for manifest or plain error. See Russell v. Delco Remy Div. of Gen. Motors, 51 F.3d 746, 749 (7th Cir. 1995) (discussed supra in footnote 8). At the same time, however, this court will review de novo the Hastert court's conclusions of law where the decisional law has arguably changed.
King proffers three "powerful reasons" warranting reexamination of the Hastert court's findings of fact and conclusions of law: first, the governing law has changed as a result of the Supreme Court's decisions in Shaw and Miller; second, certain factual findings made by the Hastert court were clearly erroneous; and third, the facts have changed since November 1991.
III. The Hastert Court's Decision
The 1990 decennial census report revealed that Illinois' population had grown by 4,084 people, or 0.0357%, between 1980 and 1990. Hastert, 777 F. Supp. at 637. Because the rate of Illinois' population growth was proportionally smaller than that of the United States as a whole, Illinois was only entitled to twenty seats in the United States House of Representatives rather than its previous twenty-two. The Illinois constitution required the General Assembly to reapportion the state's congressional districts to comport with the 1990 census results; however, it failed to do so. As a result of the General Assembly's abdication of its constitutional responsibility, five separate lawsuits were filed seeking a common declaration; namely, Illinois' then existing congressional districting plan was unconstitutional due to the population and demographic changes represented in the 1990 census report. Id.
The Republican Party members of the 1990 Illinois congressional delegation (the "Hastert" plaintiffs) filed the first lawsuit on June 27, 1991. Shortly thereafter, a group of Hispanic and African-American resident-voters (the "Nieves" plaintiffs) filed the second lawsuit seeking, inter alia, the creation of a majority-minority Hispanic congressional district under Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act, 42 U.S.C. § 1973. Next, a group of resident voters from various Illinois congressional districts, ostensibly acting on behalf of the Democratic Party members of the 1990 Illinois congressional delegation (the "Rosebrook" plaintiffs), filed the third lawsuit. Representative Cardiss Collins (D-IL; 7th Dist.) and Representative Charles Hayes (D-IL; 1st Dist.) jointly filed the fourth lawsuit (the "Collins" plaintiffs). Finally, the Chicago Urban League filed the fifth lawsuit on behalf of the resident voters in the then existing majority-minority African-American congressional districts. Each group of plaintiffs submitted a proposed redistricting plan to the court for consideration.
All five lawsuits were consolidated into a single proceeding for trial.
The Hastert court conducted a two day trial beginning on October 7, 1991. Due to time constraints imposed by the 1992 election filing deadlines, the court streamlined the proceedings "in a manner that would still enable the parties to present a complete record on the serious constitutional matters at issue."
Hastert, 777 F. Supp. at 639. To that end, the court "directed the parties to submit their evidence in the form of affidavits and depositions, supplemented by any maps and statistical data . . . ." Id. at 639-40. The court limited the parties to a single proposed plan and map at trial, and entertained argument mainly through post-trial briefs. Id. at 640.
As a result of these streamlined proceedings, the parties resolved numerous issues through negotiation, concession, and stipulation. In so doing, the parties not only effectively supplanted the Hastert court's fact finding role in many instances but also narrowed the number of substantive legal issues the court needed to decide. The court explained:
The parties worked diligently during discovery and the two-day trial to resolve numerous areas of significant disagreement in their competing plans. The pretrial proceedings were marked by a succession of amendments to the principal redistricting proposals, with each of the new amended plans incrementally eliminating a complex area of potential conflict.