Organizers of a plan to change how Illinois draws its political maps are prepping to argue their case in court later this month.
Dave Mellet, campaign director for the Independent Maps coalition, said oral arguments in a lawsuit challenging the amendment are set for June 30.
Mellet said the question comes down to the wording of the 1970 Illinois Constitution. “If you want to have a citizen-led petition initiative to amend the state Constitution, it has to be relevant to the state legislature.”
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Mellet said the Independent Map plan, to have a commission draw Illinois' legislative district maps, fits the bill.
Opponents counter the proposal is beyond what the state Constitution allows.
Lawyers with ties to House Speaker Michael Madigan are spearheading the lawsuit. Michael Kasper, Madigan’s longtime legal aide, filed the lawsuit.
“It's a lot of little, I'd say petty, arguments about the language and certain wording in the Constitution,” Mellet said of the case from map opponents.
The group collected more than 560,000 signatures on petitions to get the question on the ballot. The Illinois State Board of Elections has cleared the question for the November ballot. Only the lawsuit stands in the way.
Former Gov. Pat Quinn said recently he doesn't think the Independent Map Amendment will pass constitutional muster. Mellet commented that the former governor isn't one of Illinois' foremost constitutional experts.