IL Democrats Redraw State Supreme Court Districts for First Time in 60 Years to Keep Control

From the Chicago Tribune (note that the one-person, one-vote doctrine does not apply to election districts for elected state supreme courts):

In addition to the legislature, Democrats doubled-down on their cartography skills, passing the first redrawing of Illinois Supreme Court boundaries in nearly 60 years due to fear that their 4-3 advantage on the high court could evaporate under the current boundaries in the 2022 election.

Democrats said their work was an attempt to equalize population among districts that had grown wildly disparate over the decades, with a district that covers much of the collar counties holding more than 3.1 million people, while two Downstate districts each hold populations of less than 1.3 million.

For decades, the current court boundaries were allowed to stand with Democrats holding a majority, helped by a constitutional requirement that three of the seven justices come from Cook County.

Last year, Democrat Thomas Kilbride of Rock Island became the first justice to lose retention as his central Illinois district turned more Republican and opponents highlighted his ties to Madigan. The new map alters the boundaries of the four court districts outside Cook County to make it easier for a Democrat to win at least one of those seats.

Senate Republican leader Dan McConchie of Hawthorn Woods said the public doesn’t view the courts as creatures of a partisan political system but would do so now as a result of the Democratic redistricting.

And in Illinois, it is Republicans who are calling for independent commissions to do redistricting:

Republican Rep. Avery Bourne of Morrisonville chastised Democrats for bucking their own party nationally by supporting a gerrymandered map. She noted that then-President Barack Obama voiced his support for independent redistricting commissions in a 2016 speech to the Illinois General Assembly and that President Joe Biden has railed against GOP efforts to pass gerrymandered maps in a number of states.

“We want it to be the independent commission that you have promised in your editorial boards, promised to your voters. It’s in alignment with what Barack Obama said on that pedestal. It’s in alignment with what your own president right now says,” said Bourne as she pointed across the chamber at Democrats. “He says that elections are being rigged through gerrymandering. It’s pretty rich to hear how you all are justifying this map.”

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