CHICAGO – A federal court today upheld redistricting plans adopted by the Illinois General Assembly in September 2021.
The three-judge panel’s decision comes two months after MALDEF (Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund) successfully challenged an initial set of state legislative redistricting plans adopted by the Illinois General Assembly and signed on June 4 by Gov. J.B. Pritzker. The court ruled in October that those maps, which failed to use 2020 Census data, were malapportioned and unconstitutional.
State officials adopted a new set of plans that relied on Census data. MALDEF challenged the second set of plans as unconstitutional and a violation of Section 2 of the federal Voting Rights Act. Today’s ruling involves the second set of redistricting plans adopted in September.
Please attribute the following statement on today’s ruling to MALDEF President and General Counsel Thomas A. Saenz:
“We are disappointed at the three-judge court’s decision today. In particular, we believe that the court reached conclusions about the extent of crossover voting by non-Latinos to support Latino-supported candidates that are not accurate under the law. Nonetheless, the legislatively-drawn districts will be in effect as a result of today’s decision, and MALDEF will be carefully monitoring electoral outcomes in the districts we have challenged. It is incumbent upon the legislative leaders and governor who enacted these maps to ensure that, in fact, their dismantling of Latino-majority districts and failure to create new Latino-majority districts do not result in any diminution in the political and policy influence to which the growing Illinois Latino community is entitled. This includes ensuring that all government appointments, political leadership, and policy development properly respect Latino community interests and significance.
“Despite today’s decision, the compressed and difficult federal litigation MALDEF pursued has ensured that the original and faulty, malapportioned lines were never used, and has succeeded in sending a critical message about the appropriate future ongoing recognition of the Latino community’s increased and central prominence in Illinois’ future.”
Please attribute the following statement on today’s ruling to MALDEF Staff Attorney Ernest Herrera:
“The Court unfortunately agreed with Illinois's legislative leaders that their map was just good enough for Latino voters for technical reasons, despite the facts that Latinos remain underrepresented in the General Assembly and continue to be left behind in education, housing access, healthcare, and income. Rather than provide Latinos equal opportunity to choose candidates who best represents their interests, today's decision signals to the Latinos of Illinois that they remain significantly dependent on the purported munificence of the current majority political party. Despite this, Latinos in Illinois remain undeterred in building and struggling for true political power for their communities, and MALDEF continues to support them in that struggle.”