Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Tribune: Chicago ward remap challenge loses appeal

Well for those who are still unhappy about the recent ward remap back to the drawing board:
A federal judge rejected both arguments last August, and on Wednesday the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld that decision.

The new ward maps had a fluctuation of 8.7 percent in population from the largest ward to the smallest, and the lawsuit alleged that disparity violated the equal protection clause of the Constitution that requires officials from voting districts to represent substantially equal populations.

But the appeals court pointed to a U.S. Supreme Court precedent that had determined a fluctuation of 10 percent as the threshold for a violation of the clause.

In an attempt to overcome that precedent, the lawsuit argued the remap targeted independent aldermen, but the appeals court ruled that drawing new legislative districts is political in nature and “as in any election or redistricting scheme, there are bound to be winners and losers.” The court also determined that the lawsuit did not allege that the map targeted a specific group of voters and that the voting rights of minorities were upheld.

The appeals court also agreed with the lower court that the League of Women Voters had not proven that a “common, unwritten practice” had been put in place by the city “with the force of law” to implement the new boundaries early. The League of Women Voters’ reference to some aldermen having correspondence related to their future wards was “a far reach” to prove such a citywide policy had been implemented, the court wrote in its opinion.
You can read further posts on this topic by clicking the redistricting link - all posts on this subject. Also check out this post from last month regarding the shifting 2nd Ward.

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