So, a Cook County Judge has ruled that we don't get to vote on an Illinois constitutional amendment that would take legislative redistricting out of the hands of politicians protecting their hind sides and turn it over to a more objective and less political process.
As the Chicago Tribune reported:
Judge Diane Larsen found that the referendum question put forth by the Independent Maps group was written in a way that violates the Illinois Constitution. The ruling means that, as of now, the question won't appear before voters Nov. 8.
The ruling hands an initial victory to forces with ties to Democratic House Speaker Michael Madigan, who has maintained his hold on power at the Capitol for more than three decades in part because he's had the power to draw the boundaries of legislative districts. Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner, Madigan's chief nemesis, supports the ballot question.
Don't expect the Illinois Supreme Court to reverse the decision because it the high court is the same corrupt political system that seeks, above all, to deny citizen-inspired good government initiatives from succeeding. The same system that designed a state constitution that virtually eliminates citizen-inspired reform of the legislative process, as if the Madigan model of lawmaking is the best of all possible worlds.
It strikes me that the only way for citizens to get their two cents in is to follow the lead of the only successful petition driven initiative. You had to go all the way back decades when Pat Quinn hadn't become a handmaiden of the Democratic Party and was a gadfly trying to inspire grass-roots reform.
He led the fight for the so-called Cutback Amendment that reduced the size of the Illinois House from 177 members, three to a district, to 118 members, one from each district. It was hailed as true reform back then, but in testimony to the veracity of the Principle of Unintended Consequences, it allowed for the concentration of power in legislative leaders in a way that has allowed Madigan to run the state as he sees fit (i.e. in his and his cronies' self-interests). The three-member district allowed for the presence of intelligent and honest people to form a block of independent lawmakers who made it their job to bedevil the likes of Madigan. They weren't always successful, but at least there was someone to speak up for the common good.
So, here's my suggestion: Put an Expand Amendment on the ballot, to restore the three-member districts. Thanks to Quinn's efforts, the court cannot find a way to throw it off the ballot because it does not conform to a court's strained ruling that it violates the constitution. No way could Madigan and his toadies control all those people. It might not change all that much, but at least it will tweak the powerful.
P.S. Every time I hear commentators, editorial boards and other voices bewail the near impossibility to reform the constitution through a referendum, I think back to when those same people were opposed to the last available call for a constitutional convention that could have addressed and changed this corrupt process. They formed a united front with the same powerbrokers and special interests that we so distrusting of the ability of the citizens to govern themselves that the call for a con-con, as it was called, was soundly defeated. Proving once again that we get the government that we deserve.
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