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Sherman v. Quinn

August 16, 2010

ROBERT I. SHERMAN, PLAINTIFF,
v.
PATRICK QUINN, IN HIS OFFICIAL CAPACITY AS GOVERNOR OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, WARREN RIBLEY, IN HIS OFFICIAL CAPACITY AS DIRECTOR, ILLINOIS DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE AND ECONOMIC OPPORTUNITY, AND DANIEL W. HYNES, IN HIS OFFICIAL CAPACITY AS COMPTROLLER OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Michael P. McCUSKEY Chief U.S. District Judge

OPINION

This cause is before the Court on Defendants Patrick Quinn's, Warren Ribley's, and Daniel W. Hynes' Motion to Dismiss (Motion) (d/e 9) and Defendants' Memorandum of Law in Support of Motion to Dismiss (d/e 10). Plaintiff Robert I. Sherman has filed his Memorandum of Law in Opposition to Motion to Dismiss (Response) (d/e 11). This matter is fully briefed and ripe for adjudication. For the reasons described below, the Motion is granted.

FACTS

According to the Complaint for Preliminary and Permanent Injunction (Complaint) (d/e 1), Plaintiff is a United States citizen and a resident of the State of Illinois who pays taxes to the State of Illinois. Defendant Patrick Quinn is the Governor of the State of Illinois, and Defendant Warren Ribley is the Director of the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO), which is an agency of the State of Illinois. Defendant Daniel W. Hynes is the Comptroller of the State of Illinois.

On July 13, 2009, Defendant Quinn signed into law a capital act known as Public Act 96-39, or Illinois Jobs Now! (the Act), which authorized "a large number of expenditures for infrastructure improvements and other public and private purposes." Complaint, ¶ 6. Among these expenditures were 155 grants to "houses of worship, religious ministries, parochial schools, other religious institutions, private organizations that explicitly exclude atheists, and other private organizations engaging in advocacy not limited to legitimate public purposes." Complaint, ¶ 7. The grants are designed to fund capital and infrastructure improvements, and new construction. The Act was also designed to provide jobs to out-of-work Illinois residents. Exhibits B and C to the Complaint are lists of the allocations of funds that Plaintiff finds objectionable. Among these are a $50,000 grant for capital improvements at Muslim Women's Resource Center; a $60,000 grant to the Jewish Federation of Chicago; a $25,000 grant for renovations at St. Richard Catholic School; and a $100,000 grant for infrastructure improvements at Lawndale Christian Reformed Church and School. See Complaint, Ex. B, Line Items 4, 12, 20, & 96. The Act also permits discretionary spending, and contains grants to various organizations without specifying whether the money is to be used for secular purposes, religious purposes, or some combination thereof.

The single largest grant in the Act is a $2.23 billion appropriation "to the Office of the Governor to be expended, in the discretion of and as determined by the Governor and upon written direction of the Governor to the Comptroller, for the costs (including operational expenses, awards, grants, and permanent improvements) of community-based human services providers and agencies that are associated with programs and other services that provide assistance for those in need." Complaint, Ex. A, Act, Art. XV, § 5, p. 990.*fn1 Plaintiff alleges that the "broad discretionary spending authority" provided to Defendant Quinn under this provision of the Act fails to provide Plaintiff "with any meaningful way to monitor or review such expenditures to determine whether they comport with the Establishment Clause or to seek a legal remedy to prevent such expenditures that violate the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment." Complaint, ¶ 14.

Plaintiff filed this lawsuit on April 7, 2010. First, he alleges pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §§ 1983 and 1988 that Defendants, by enacting and administrating the Act, violated his First and Fourteenth Amendment rights under the U.S. Constitution. Plaintiff also brings claims under provisions of the Constitution of the State of Illinois, including: (1) Article I, § 3; (2) Article VIII § 1(a); (3) Article VIII, § 2(b); and (4) Article X, § 3. Plaintiff sues Defendants in their official capacities, and requests that the Court enjoin administration of the Act. Plaintiff brings Counts I, II, and III against Quinn; Counts IV and V against Ribley; and Counts VI and VII against Defendant Hynes.

LEGAL STANDARDS

Under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6), dismissal is proper where a complaint fails to state a claim on which relief can be granted. Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6). The Federal Rules require only "a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief," and allegations must be "simple, concise, and direct." Fed. R. Civ. P. 8(a)(2) & (d)(1). While a complaint need not contain detailed, specific factual allegations, it must contain sufficient facts to "state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face." Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007). A claim is plausible if the plaintiff "pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged." Ashcroft v. Iqbal, __ U.S. __, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 1949 (2009). The Seventh Circuit has held that a claim is plausible on its face if it provides the defendant fair notice of what the claim is and the grounds upon which it rests. George v. Smith, 507 F.3d 605, 608 (7th Cir. 2007). Dismissal under Rule 12(b)(6) is appropriate when "the factual detail in a complaint [is] so sketchy that the complaint does not provide the type of notice of the claim to which the defendant is entitled under Rule 8." Airborne Beepers & Video, Inc. v. AT&T Mobility, LLC, 499 F.3d 663, 667 (7th Cir. 2007).

For purposes of a motion to dismiss, the Court accepts as true all well-pleaded factual allegations in a complaint. Hager v. City of West Peoria, 84 F.3d 865, 868-69 (7th Cir. 1996); Covington Court, Ltd. v. Village of Oak Brook, 77 F.3d 177, 178 (7th Cir. 1996). The Court views the facts in the light most favorable to the non-moving party, in this case, Plaintiff.

ANALYSIS

Defendants present several arguments for dismissal. The Court addresses each argument in turn.

I. ELEVENTH AMENDMENT BAR

Defendants first argue that Counts II, III, V, and VI are barred by the Eleventh Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Plaintiff "elects not to contest the Defendants' [M]otion with respect to these [C]ounts," and concedes that these claims are barred by the Eleventh Amendment. Response, ΒΆ 1. Therefore, ...


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