King v. State Bd. of Elections, No. 95 C 827.

CourtUnited States District Courts. 7th Circuit. United States District Court (Northern District of Illinois)
Writing for the CourtKANNE, Circuit , and NORGLE and COAR
Citation979 F.Supp. 582
Decision Date15 March 1996
Docket NumberNo. 95 C 827.
PartiesJames R. KING, Plaintiff, v. STATE BOARD OF ELECTIONS, David E. Murray, Lawrence E. Johnson, Hannelore Huisman, Judith Jones, Langdon D. Neal, Theresa M. Petrone, and Wanda Rednour, Defendants, and United States of America, Bobby Rush, Timuel Black, Al Johnson, Elvira Carrizales, Neomi Hernandez, and The Chicago Urban League, Defendant Intervenors.

979 F.Supp. 582

James R. KING, Plaintiff,
v.
STATE BOARD OF ELECTIONS, David E. Murray, Lawrence E. Johnson, Hannelore Huisman, Judith Jones, Langdon D. Neal, Theresa M. Petrone, and Wanda Rednour, Defendants,
and
United States of America, Bobby Rush, Timuel Black, Al Johnson, Elvira Carrizales, Neomi Hernandez, and The Chicago Urban League, Defendant Intervenors.

No. 95 C 827.

United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division.

March 15, 1996.


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979 F.Supp. 585
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979 F.Supp. 586
Douglas Edward Markham, Houston, TX, for Plaintiff

Joan Cagen Laser, U.S. Attys. Office, Judson H. Miner, Miner, Barnhill & Galland, Maria Valdez, Mexican Amer. Legal Defense & Educ. Fund, Clyde Murphy, Chicago Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights, Martha J. Avery, Robins, Kaplan, Miller & Ciresi, Mark Stephen Grotefeld, Provizer, Phillips, Grotefeld & Denenberg, P.C., Charles Frank Marino, David M. Marino, Chicago, IL, Brenda Wright, Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights, Washington, DC, for Intervenors.

Limo T. Cherian, Mitchell Bruce Katten, O'Rourke & Griffin, Chicago, IL, for Defendants.

Before KANNE, Circuit Judge, and NORGLE and COAR, District Judges.

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

Plaintiff, James R. King ("King"), claims that the configuration of the Illinois Fourth Congressional District violates the Fourteenth Amendment. To address this claim, this court must review the history of the current district map and resolve the unusual procedural issues that accompany King's lawsuit.

Because the Illinois General Assembly failed to reapportion Illinois' legislative districts following the issuance of the 1990 census report, that task fell to an earlier panel of this court by default.1 See Hastert v. State Bd. of Elections, 777 F.Supp. 634, 641 (N.D.Ill.1991) (hereinafter "Hastert"). On November 6, 1991, the Hastert court issued an order reapportioning Illinois' twenty (20) congressional seats. Through this order, the Hastert court created a "majority-minority" Hispanic congressional district for the first time in Illinois history. The situs of this Hispanic majority district is Illinois' Fourth Congressional District, which is located in Cook County and the City of Chicago.2 Since November 6, 1991, the United States Supreme Court has issued two course-altering opinions concerning congressional reapportionment and the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. See Shaw v. Reno, 509 U.S. 630, 113 S.Ct. 2816, 125 L.Ed.2d 511 (1993); Miller v. Johnson, 515 U.S. 900, 115 S.Ct. 2475, 132 L.Ed.2d 762 (1995). In addition, two congressional elections have been held; in both elections, the electorate of the Fourth Congressional District sent a Hispanic representative to Congress.

In February 1995, King, a resident of the Fourth Congressional District, filed the instant lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the Hispanic majority district adopted in Hastert.3 King contends that the borders of

979 F.Supp. 587
the Fourth Congressional District were drawn predominately on the basis of race and without a compelling state interest to justify this racially-based classification. He also opposes the district's current configuration on moral grounds. King thus argues that the configuration of the Fourth Congressional District approved in Hastert violates the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. King's lawsuit compels this court to again enter the thicket of congressional redistricting. See Hastert, 777 F.Supp. at 641 (citation omitted). More specifically, this court must determine whether the court-ordered Hispanic majority district adopted in Hastert passes constitutional muster under the Supreme Court's host recent equal protection jurisprudence

I. Relevant Procedural History

Following the filing of King's lawsuit, this court permitted Congressman Bobby Rush (Dem.-IL, 1st Dist.), Timuel Black, Al Johnson, Elvira Carrizales, Neomi Hernandez, the Chicago Urban League, and the United States Department of Justice ("DOJ") to intervene as defendants under Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 24(a) and (b).4 In addition, the court permitted the Democratic National Committee to participate amicus curiae.

On August 15, 1995, King filed a motion for a preliminary injunction seeking to enjoin the Illinois Congressional primary and general elections presently scheduled for March 19, 1996, and November 5, 1996, respectively. King predicated his request for a preliminary injunction on the alleged constitutional deprivation articulated in his complaint; namely, that the Hastert court's configuration of the Fourth Congressional District on the basis of race violated his rights under the Fourteenth Amendment to participate in a "color-blind election process." Pursuant to Rule 65(a)(2), this court consolidated the hearing on King's preliminary injunction motion with the three day trial conducted December 13-15, 1995, on the merits of King's complaint. See Fed. R.Civ.P. 65(a)(2). Since many of the arguments advanced at trial by King either directly or indirectly challenged or implicated factual findings and legal conclusions made by the Hastert court, this court first had to resolve several procedural issues concerning the relationship between this litigation and the Hastert litigation. Two issues predominated: first, whether and to what extent the parties are bound by the Hastert court's findings of fact; and second, the standard by which this court would review the Hastert court's conclusions of law.

A. Standards Governing the Hastert court's Findings of Fact

1. Rule 60(b)

Defendant State Board of Elections ("SBOE") and defendant-intervenor DOJ argued that King's lawsuit should be considered an attempt to modify or vacate the Hastert court's reapportionment order since it essentially attacked the factual findings and legal conclusions of the Hastert opinion. Based upon this characterization, the SBOE and DOJ maintained that King's lawsuit should have been transferred to the Hastert panel pursuant to Local General Rule 2.21 D(8).5 If the case had been transferred, King would have had to petition the Hastert

979 F.Supp. 588
court to reopen those proceedings and permit him to intervene. The Hastert court, in turn, would have considered King's challenges to its November 1991 reapportionment order under Rule 60(b)(5) or (b)(6).6 Proceeding under Rule 60(b) would have been a daunting task, since "relief from a judgment under Rule 60(b) is an extraordinary remedy reserved for the exceptional case."7 See Camp v. Gregory, 67 F.3d 1286, 1290 (7th Cir.1995)

This court, which includes two of the three judges who presided over the Hastert case, declined to transfer King's case as suggested by the SBOE and DOJ for three reasons. First, the doctrine of the law of the case mandated this court's rejection of the SBOE and DOJ argument. The law of the case doctrine typically provides that "when a court decides upon a rule of law, that decision should continue to govern the same issues

979 F.Supp. 589
in subsequent stages in the same case." Donohoe v. Consolidated Operating & Prod. Corp., 30 F.3d 907, 910 (7th Cir.1994) (quoting Arizona v. California, 460 U.S. 605, 618, 103 S.Ct. 1382, 1391, 75 L.Ed.2d 318 (1983)). The doctrine applies not only to the prior decisions of the same court, but also to prior decisions of a coordinate court in the same case. Id. (citing Christianson v. Colt Indus. Operating Corp., 486 U.S. 800, 815-18, 108 S.Ct. 2166, 2177-79, 100 L.Ed.2d 811 (1988)). In this context, the doctrine of the law of the case functions like the doctrine governing reconsideration; that is, "a court will ordinarily not reconsider its own decision made at an earlier stage of the trial or on a prior appeal, absent clear and convincing reasons to reexamine the prior ruling." See Johnson v. Burken, 930 F.2d 1202, 1207 (7th Cir.1991) (quoting Gertz v. Robert Welch, Inc., 680 F.2d 527, 532 (7th Cir.1982), cert. denied 459 U.S. 1226, 103 S.Ct. 1233, 75 L.Ed.2d 467 (1983)). Thus, when a court is asked to change a prior decision in its own case or in the case of a coordinate court, the law of the case doctrine permits it to avoid reexamining the prior decision "unless powerful reasons are given for doing so." Id.

In this case, King filed a petition for the appointment of a three judge panel pursuant to 28 U.S.C. section 2284(a) shortly after filing his complaint.8 The SBOE agreed that a three judge panel was appropriate but argued that the three judges who presided over the Hastert litigation should be reappointed since King's complaint sought "to modify" that court's redistricting order. (See SBOE Resp. Mem., at ¶¶ 4-5). In accordance with 28 U.S.C. section 2284(b)(1), the petition was transferred to the Honorable Richard A. Posner, Chief Judge of the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals, for decision.9 Judge Posner appointed the present panel, and thereby rejected the SBOE's request for assignment of the case to the Hastert court.

Second, neither the SBOE nor DOJ established that Local Rule 2.21 D(8) applied to the unique circumstances of King's complaint. The purpose of Local Rule 2.21 D(8) appears to be three-fold: to prevent forum or judge shopping; to ensure continuity of decisions; and to promote judicial economy. Given these purposes, it is axiomatic that when a court enters a judgment resolving a dispute among certain parties, the same court must preside over any secondary action brought by one of the parties to enforce, modify or vacate that judgment. King, however, does not fall within the parameters of this axiom. He was neither a party to nor in privity with any party to the Hastert proceeding, and thus lacked standing to petition the Hastert court under Rule 60(b) for an order vacating or modifying its judgment order. See Fed.R.Civ.P.R. 60(b); National Acceptance Co. of Am., Inc. v. Frigidmeats, Inc., 627 F.2d...

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8 practice notes
  • King v. Illinois State Bd. of Elections, No. 03-3536.
    • United States
    • U.S. Court of Appeals — Seventh Circuit
    • June 13, 2005
    ...dismissed. The three-judge court concluded that the Fourth District was constitutional. See King v. State Bd. of Elections ("King I"), 979 F.Supp. 582 (N.D.Ill.), vacated, King v. Illinois Bd. of Elections, 519 U.S. 978, 117 S.Ct. 429, 136 L.Ed.2d 328 (1996).4 Mr. King appealed directly to ......
  • PERRY-BEY v. CITY OF NORFOLK, VA., Civil Action No. 2:08cv100.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 4th Circuit. United States District Court (Eastern District of Virginia)
    • January 15, 2009
    ...court supervision. This issue arose in the voting rights context again, though more recently, in King v. State Bd. of Elections, 979 F.Supp. 582 (N.D.Ill.1996), vacated and remanded on other grounds, 519 U.S. 978, 117 S.Ct. 429, 136 L.Ed.2d 328 (1996), aff'd on remand, 979 F.Supp. 619 (1997......
  • Diaz v. Silver, Civil Action No. 95-CV-2591 (JMM, SJ, DGT).
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. United States District Court (Eastern District of New York)
    • February 27, 1997
    ...Illinois Bd. of Elections, ___ U.S. ___, 117 S.Ct. 429, 136 L.Ed.2d 328 (1996), vacating and remanding King v. State Bd. of Elections, 979 F.Supp. 582 24. Although plaintiffs have moved for summary judgment and thus it is their burden to come forward with support that no genuine issue of ma......
  • Comm. for A Fair & Balanced Map v. Ill. State Bd. of Elections, Case No. 1:11–CV–5065.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 7th Circuit. United States District Court (Northern District of Illinois)
    • December 15, 2011
    ...511 (1993)( Shaw I ) and Miller v. Johnson, 515 U.S. 900, 115 S.Ct. 2475, 132 L.Ed.2d 762 (1995), see King v. State Bd. of Elections, 979 F.Supp. 582, 586 (N.D.Ill.1996)( King I ), which recognize an equal protection claim based on segregating voters in separate districts based on race. Kin......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
8 cases
  • King v. Illinois State Bd. of Elections, No. 03-3536.
    • United States
    • U.S. Court of Appeals — Seventh Circuit
    • June 13, 2005
    ...dismissed. The three-judge court concluded that the Fourth District was constitutional. See King v. State Bd. of Elections ("King I"), 979 F.Supp. 582 (N.D.Ill.), vacated, King v. Illinois Bd. of Elections, 519 U.S. 978, 117 S.Ct. 429, 136 L.Ed.2d 328 (1996).4 Mr. King appealed directly to ......
  • PERRY-BEY v. CITY OF NORFOLK, VA., Civil Action No. 2:08cv100.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 4th Circuit. United States District Court (Eastern District of Virginia)
    • January 15, 2009
    ...court supervision. This issue arose in the voting rights context again, though more recently, in King v. State Bd. of Elections, 979 F.Supp. 582 (N.D.Ill.1996), vacated and remanded on other grounds, 519 U.S. 978, 117 S.Ct. 429, 136 L.Ed.2d 328 (1996), aff'd on remand, 979 F.Supp. 619 (1997......
  • Diaz v. Silver, Civil Action No. 95-CV-2591 (JMM, SJ, DGT).
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. United States District Court (Eastern District of New York)
    • February 27, 1997
    ...Illinois Bd. of Elections, ___ U.S. ___, 117 S.Ct. 429, 136 L.Ed.2d 328 (1996), vacating and remanding King v. State Bd. of Elections, 979 F.Supp. 582 24. Although plaintiffs have moved for summary judgment and thus it is their burden to come forward with support that no genuine issue of ma......
  • Comm. for A Fair & Balanced Map v. Ill. State Bd. of Elections, Case No. 1:11–CV–5065.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 7th Circuit. United States District Court (Northern District of Illinois)
    • December 15, 2011
    ...511 (1993)( Shaw I ) and Miller v. Johnson, 515 U.S. 900, 115 S.Ct. 2475, 132 L.Ed.2d 762 (1995), see King v. State Bd. of Elections, 979 F.Supp. 582, 586 (N.D.Ill.1996)( King I ), which recognize an equal protection claim based on segregating voters in separate districts based on race. Kin......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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