Friday, January 20, 2012

Progress Illinois: Chicago Ward Remap Could Still Face Lawsuit

[36th Ward Ald.] Sposato, who tried to delay today's vote, says a parliamentary maneuver to force the vote could also factor into any legal action.

The map does satisfy legal requirements regarding the 1965 Voting Rights Acts that guarantees equal representation to racial minorities. There are 18 majority Black wards, 13 majority Hispanic wards, and two Hispanic "influence" wards.

However, the map might not meet the most basic rule of representation: One person, one vote. Some wards on the far South Side have almost five percent more than the 53,912 median ward population – some on the far North Side have almost five percent less than the median.

The Mexican American Legal Defense Fund (MALDEF) and other groups released their own maps to be considered by the Chicago City Council. These maps more closely adhere to “one man, one vote” and could set in motion a lawsuit against the city.

Several advocacy groups could be party to these lawsuits, as they were disenchanted with the final map.

Theresa Mah, policy consultant for the Coalition for a Better Chinese Community, says it is too soon to know if her organization will join a potential lawsuit. But Mah is adamant that the compromise map does not effectively represent Chicago's growing Asian population. "I can't really say that our concerns were heard by anyone," Mah says. "The [compromise map] splits Chinatown into five wards."
What about this parliamentary maneuver?
[2nd Ward Ald.] Fioretti and Sposato, their political survival threatened, tried to “postpone the inevitable,” as Sposato put it, by exercising the right of any two aldermen to delay consideration of any matter for one meeting.

But Emanuel’s forces used an obscure parliamentary maneuver to prevent the delay — by ruling that matters directly introduced to the City Council can’t be postponed.

They were that determined to put the divisive issue to rest and to prevent the hard-fought deal from unraveling.

I'm pretty sure however that they were determined to push this through when it was found that this map could possible withstand a lawsuit. Back to the Progress IL article:
Aldermanic fears of a lawsuit were partly allayed earlier this week when American University professor and redistricting legal expert Allan Lichtman said that the map could withstand a legal challenge. Lichtman, though, did say that aldermen would need to prove that these population variances were designed to protect Black and Latino voters.
 Designed to protect voters or other members of the city council?

For now it seems many people have to accept it on the surface. Deal with the cards that have been dealt, however, listening to some of the talk.

BTW, a lawsuit could cost between $20 to $30 million. Who knows if this this map couldn't avoid a lawsuit? We do know now that they drew a map that could avoid having the citizens of Chicago to decide a map.

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