Court Rules in Favor of Republicans in Dispute Over Illinois Redistricting Maps

By Masooma Haq
Masooma Haq
Masooma Haq
October 19, 2021 Updated: October 20, 2021

A federal court has ruled in favor of Illinois Republicans over a lawsuit filed in June disputing a legislative redistricting plan by Democrats in the General Assembly.

House Republican Leader Jim Durkin and Illinois Senate Republican Leader Dan McConchie filed the lawsuit to challenge legislative maps drawn by Democrats and signed into law by Governor JB Pritzker.

“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,” the court ruling stated.

The Republican’s lawsuit asserted that that because the legislative maps were drawn using American Community Survey (ACS) population estimates, rather than the final 2020 census enumeration data, the maps cannot ensure the populations are equal as required by the 14th Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause and its one person, one vote rule.

Redistricting is the process of redrawing state legislative and congressional district boundaries following the decennial U.S. Census, which happens every 10 years. The Illinois maps were drawn in June by a Democrat majority committee made up of state legislators. Governor J.B. Pritzker, a Democrat, signed the new maps into law on Sept. 24.

Adam Kincaid, the executive director at National Republican Redistricting Trust (NRRT) said in a recent interview that Pritzker should not have approved the maps in the first place.

“Number one, it didn’t use real data; number two, it was clearly partisan; and number three, he promised a veto it, right? He said that he wanted the commission to draw the map. Governor Pritzker’s veto would have forced an (independent) commission to draw the maps,” said Kincaid. “But what did he do? He signed it anyway.”

Pritzker’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the court’s ruling.

Illinois is just one of the states where the redistricting process is heated and the new maps are being contested. Oregon, Texas, Colorado, Virginia, Wisconsin, Alabama, South Carolina, Louisiana, Ohio, and Arkansas are some of the other states in redistricting disputes.

All of these lawsuits whether filed by Democrats or Republicans are in an effort to define congressional districts that will best facilitate each party gaining an advantage to win the majority in the 2022 elections.

In the House, Democrats have a slim advantage over Republicans. Historically, the party of the president generally loses seats in the House and Senate during the next midterms. After former President Donald Trump’s 2016 victory, Republicans lost their House majority in 2018.

The House GOP needs to pick up five seats to secure a House majority, and they need just one seat to take the Senate.

House leaders of both parties, Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) have recently said they feel confident that they will win/keep the majority after the 2022 mid-terms.


Masooma Haq