McConchie v. Scholz, Case No. 21-cv-3091

CourtUnited States District Courts. 7th Circuit. United States District Court (Northern District of Illinois)
Writing for the CourtPER CURIAM.
Parties Dan MCCONCHIE, et al., Plaintiffs, v. Charles W. SCHOLZ, et al., Defendants. Julie Contreras, et al., Plaintiffs, v. Illinois State Board of Elections, et al., Defendants.
Docket NumberCase No. 21-cv-3091, Case No. 21-cv-3139
Decision Date19 October 2021

567 F.Supp.3d 861

Dan MCCONCHIE, et al., Plaintiffs,
v.
Charles W. SCHOLZ, et al., Defendants.


Julie Contreras, et al., Plaintiffs,
v.
Illinois State Board of Elections, et al., Defendants.

Case No. 21-cv-3091
Case No. 21-cv-3139

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

Filed October 19, 2021


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Charles Edward Harris, II, Christopher Steven Comstock, Mitchell Douglas Holzrichter, Thomas Vangel Panoff, Mayer Brown LLP, Ricardo Meza, Meza Law, Chicago, IL, Phillip Anthony Luetkehans, Brian J. Armstrong, Jessica Grace Nosalski, Luetkehans, Brady, Garner & Armstrong LLC, Itasca, IL, for Plaintiffs Dan McConchie, Jim Durkin.

Julie Anne Bauer, Nathan R. Gilbert, Winston & Strawn LLP, Griselda Vega Samuel, Francisco Fernandez Del Castillo, Mexican American Legal Defense & Educational Fund, Chicago, IL, Thomas A. Saenz, Pro Hac Vice, Ernest Israel Herrera, Pro Hac Vice, Mexican American Legal Defense & Educational Fund, Los Angeles, CA, Denise Marie Hulett, Mexican American Legal Defense And Educational Fund, Sacramento, CA, for Plaintiffs Julie Contreras, Rose Torres, Abraham Martinez, Irvin Fuentes, Irene Padilla.

Griselda Vega Samuel, Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Chicago, IL, for Plaintiffs Troy Hernandez, Ivan Medina, Alfredo Calixto, Jose Alcala, Laura Murphy, Puerto Rican Bar Association of Illinois, Cristina Flores, Hispanic Lawyers Association of Illinois.

Charles Edward Harris, II, Mayer Brown LLP, Chicago, IL, for Plaintiffs Republican Caucus of the Illinois Senate, Republican Caucus of the Illinois House of Representatives, Felipe Luna, Jr., Salvador Tremillo, Christopher Romero, Dolores Diaz, James Rivera, Anna De La Torre.

The Illinois Republican Party, Pro Se.

Mary Alice Johnston, Illinois Attorney General, Chicago, IL, for Defendants Ian K. Linnabary in 21-cv-3091, William M. McGuffage in 21-cv-3091, William J. Cadigan in 21-cv-3091, Laura K. Donahue in 21-cv-3091, Casandra B. Watson in 21-cv-3091.

Adam Robert Vaught, Hinshaw & Culbertson LLP, Michael James Kasper, Kasper & Nottage, P.C., Chicago, IL, for Defendants Emanuel Christopher Welch, Office of the Speaker of the Illinois House of Representatives in 21-cv-3139.

Adam Robert Vaught, Hinshaw & Culbertson LLP, Michael James Kasper, Kasper & Nottage, P.C., Chicago, IL, Heather Wier Vaught, Heather Wier Vaught P.C., LaGrange, IL, for Defendant Office of Speaker of the Illinois House of Representatives in 21-cv-3091.

Adam Robert Vaught, Hinshaw & Culbertson LLP, Devon C. Bruce, Powers, Rogers & Smith, Sean M. Berkowitz, Latham & Watkins LLP, Michael James Kasper, Kasper & Nottage, P.C., Chicago, IL, Colleen Carlton Smith, Pro Hac Vice, Latham & Watkins LLP, San Diego, CA, Elizabeth H. Yandell, Pro Hac Vice, Latham & Watkins LLP, San Francisco, CA, for Defendant Don Harmon in 21-cv-3091.

Adam Robert Vaught, Hinshaw & Culbertson LLP, Devon C. Bruce, Powers, Rogers & Smith, Michael James Kasper, Kasper & Nottage, P.C., Chicago, IL, for Defendant Office of the President of the Illinois Senate.

Mary Alice Johnston, Illinois Attorney General, Chicago, IL, for Defendants Illinois State Board of Elections in 21-cv-3139, Charles W. Scholz in 21-cv-3139, Ian K. Linnabary in 21-cv-3139, William J. Cadigan in 21-cv-3139, Laura K. Donahue in 21-cv-3139, William R. Haine in 21-cv-3139, William M. McGuffage in 21-cv-3139, Katherine S. O'Brien in 21-cv-3139, Cassandra B. Watson in 21-cv-3139.

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

Per Curiam.

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On May 28, 2021, the Illinois General Assembly approved a state legislative redistricting plan before the release of the official population totals from the 2020 United States decennial census. The pandemic delayed release of the official population totals, although the United States Census Bureau ("the Census Bureau") had announced previously that those totals would be available by mid-August 2021. The Illinois General Assembly elected not to wait, and instead relied primarily on data from the American Community Survey ("ACS"), a population estimate previously published by the Census Bureau, to determine the boundaries of Illinois legislative districts. With Governor Pritzker's signature, the General Assembly-approved redistricting plan ("the June Redistricting Plan") became effective as of June 4, 2021.

Two sets of Plaintiffs filed lawsuits contending that use of the ACS data resulted in the drawing of constitutionally-flawed legislative district boundaries. Those cases have been consolidated before this three-judge court ("Court") convened under 28 U.S.C. § 2284(a). In both cases, Plaintiffs allege that the June Redistricting Plan impermissibly violated their right to Equal Protection under the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution. Defendants in both cases have moved to dismiss [McConchie , 66, 80], [Contreras , 40, 55] Plaintiffs’ first amended complaints1 [McConchie , 51], [Contreras , 37]. Following the release of the official Census data, Plaintiffs in each case moved for summary judgment [McConchie , 76], [Contreras , 63].

For the reasons stated below, the Court denies the motions to dismiss [McConchie , 66, 80], [Contreras , 40, 55] in full, except to the extent that Plaintiff Martinez is dismissed from the first amended complaint in Contreras , see [37]. The Court also grants the Plaintiffs’ motions for summary judgment in full [Contreras , 63] and in part [McConchie , 76]. The Court declares that the June Redistricting Plan, Public Act 102-0010, violates the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, and enjoins the Defendant State Board of Elections and Defendant Members, Charles W. Scholz, Ian K. Linabarry, William M. McGuffage, William J. Cadigan, Katherine S. O'Brien, Laura K. Donahue, Casandra B. Watson, and William R. Haine, in their official capacities as members of the Illinois State Board of Elections, from enforcing Public Act 102-0010.

Finally, the Court will not require formal dispositive motion practice (e.g. , motions under Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 12(b) and 56 ) on the second amended complaints and sets the schedule for the selection of a court-approved state redistricting map as follows: (1) Plaintiffs’ submissions for proposed revisions to the September Redistricting Plan, Public Act 102-0663, accompanied by a statement explaining how those revisions cure any constitutional or statutory defects in the September

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Redistricting Plan, are to be filed on the docket no later than November 8, 2021; (2) Defendants’ responses and objections to the submissions are to be submitted no later than November 18, 2021. This case is set for further status on November 5, 2021, at 11:00 a.m.

I. Background

A. Enactment of Public Act 102-0010 ("The June Redistricting Plan")

Article IV, § 3(b) of the Illinois Constitution authorizes the Illinois General Assembly to adopt legislative districts for the Illinois House of Representatives and Illinois Senate in the year following each Federal decennial census year. Under the State Constitution, legislative districts must be "compact, contiguous, and substantially equal in population." Ill. Const. art. IV, § 3 (a). But if "no redistricting plan becomes effective by June 30," control over redistricting shifts from the General Assembly to a bipartisan "Legislative Redistricting Commission," which must be "constituted not later than July 10." Ill. Const. art. IV, § 3 (b) (requiring the speaker and minority leaders of the House and Senate to appoint members to the Commission, consisting "of eight members, no more than four of whom shall be members of the same political party" together with a ninth member).

The Census Bureau generally provides states with the official census population counts within one year of the April 1 census date. [McConchie , 79 (Pls.’ Statement of Facts ("Pls.’ SOF")) at ¶ 19] (citing 13 U.S.C. § 141(c) ). The most recent census date was April 1, 2020, so the deadline for the Census Bureau's data release under Public Law 94–171 (the " PL 94–171 Data") was March 31, 2021. [Id. at ¶ 20.] In a traditional year, the March 31 release date enables state officials to draw legislative districts of substantially equal population. [Id. at ¶ 19.]

As a result of the global pandemic, this year was anything but traditional. In February 2021, the Census Bureau announced that it would not release the PL 94–171 Data until approximately September 30, 2021.2 In March 2021, the Census Bureau updated its prior guidance. The Census Bureau confirmed that it would not release state-by-state, summary PL 94–171 Data until September 30, 2021, but advised that it would provide "legacy format redistricting data file(s) to all states by mid-to-late August 2021." [McConchie , 79 (Pls.’ SOF) at ¶ 20.]3 In other words, the Census Bureau would release raw data that outside vendors could use to process a state's population data by August 2021. See [id. ]

Although the PL 94–171 Data was not available as of May 2021, the Illinois General Assembly elected to pass a redistricting plan using an alternative data source. In particular, the General...

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