(The Center Square) – A law Gov. J.B. Pritzker enacted to create judicial subcircuits in parts of Illinois has been temporarily blocked as some say the partisan measure was rushed through to the detriment of voters.
During their one day in session so far this year, Democrats earlier this month went at it alone, passing new judicial subcircuits. Without fanfare, Gov. J.B. Pritzker enacted the maps on Jan. 7.
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State Sen. Jason Plummer, R-Edwardsville, reacted to a Sangamon County judge this week temporarily blocking those new judicial districts from going into effect in Madison County.
“It wasn’t just the packing of the courts [with Democratic judges], it wasn’t trying to set the courts up, it also took away the vote from the vast majority of the people of Madison County to be able to vote for their local judicial elections this cycle,” Plummer told The Center Square.
Some of the new districts were to take effect for the 2022 election cycle while others in other parts of the state would take effect in 2024. The new districts in Madison County pitted two sitting judges against each other in elections coming up this year, while creating other judicial subcircuits Plummer said didn’t have equal representation. Even being on the Senate’s redistricting committee, he said there was little to no information about how the maps came about and for what reason they were rushed.
The Madison County Board, in a bipartisan vote, authorized the state’s attorney to sue to halt the maps. Monday, a Sangamon County judge issued a temporary restraining order blocking the maps from being enacted.
Plummer said for him the issue is about transparency, the independence of the judiciary and more.
“And the governor was put in a very bad spot,” Plummer said. “He foolishly signed the legislation and I think he’ll have egg on his face on this for a long time coming.”
At an unrelated event in East St. Louis Wednesday, Pritzker said he’ll keep an eye on the litigation, but declined to comment further.
“I don’t have much to say about it,” Pritzker said. "It’s obviously an ongoing case."
Pritzker questioned why he as governor and the Illinois State Board of Elections were the defendants in the case when there were "many other people ... involved in it," but he did not elaborate.
"Who did this?" Plummer asked. "Who pushed this legislation? Who drew the maps?"
Plummer said the politicization of the court system in a hyper-partisan era should be opposed by both parties.
“I think the people in the Metro East with bipartisan opposition to it are going to have a lot of questions for the governor, who said he will not participate in partisan redistricting,” Plummer said. “This is the epitome of partisan redistricting.”
The case continues Feb. 15.
The Center Square