The Independent Maps initiative seems to be dead and buried, murdered by Illinois House Speaker Mike Madigan and his four Democratic cohorts on the Illinois Supreme Court. There was an autopsy, but the results were withheld so that no one had a chance to learn anything from the death.
The gang of four that killed the will of 563,974 registered Illinois voters by tossing the Independent Map Amendment off the Nov. 8 ballot also refused to rehear the case. Their additional crime is their silence about why they refused to rehear the case.
A rehearing, or an opinion about why they refused a rehearing, would have been the four justices’ chance to explain themselves. They interpreted the Illinois Constitution very narrowly, saying that the petition for a maps amendment was not constitutional because it created duties for the state comptroller as well as made changes to state legislators’ powers and duties.
Under the justices’ interpretation, there are no conditions under which voters could petition to force lawmakers to give up the power of drawing their own districts. The justices had a duty to explain how a voter initiative ever could pass constitutional muster.
They met their duty with silence.
Republican Justice Lloyd Karmeier did file a lengthy dissent opinion about the rehearing. He made these points and pointed out how the petition drive organizers and voters deserved clarification. They deserved more than silence from the four Democrats on the state’s high court.
So what is next? Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner and the Independent Maps group are hoping that state lawmakers will pass either term limits or allow an independent group to draw the legislative district maps to best represent voters, instead of the current practice of letting politicians pick the voters they want.
That seems to be a ridiculously hopeful wish, especially after the majority party just battled so hard to tell voters to shut up and stop complaining.