Census Numbers Confirm Democrats’ Map Is Unconstitutional, Illinois Republicans Ask Federal Court for Summary Judgment

Ruling would avoid lengthy trial, provide opportunity for bipartisan map

Following the publication of the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2020 census data last week, which confirmed Illinois Democrats’ map included district populations three times the maximum range allowed by law, Senate Republican Leader Dan McConchie (R-Hawthorn Woods) and House Republican Leader Jim Durkin (R-Western Springs) filed a motion for summary judgment in federal court.

“This was quite possibly the most secretive, non-transparent process in the history of Springfield politics,” said McConchie. “The proclamation for a special session is admission that the Democrats’ enacted map was unconstitutional. Instead of ensuring the protection of Illinoisans’ voting rights, Governor Pritzker and his Democratic insiders drafted an unconstitutional map that sought to ensure their absolute power for another decade. With the data on the people’s side, we are confident the court will see through the Democrats’ charade and agree with our motion to void this map.”

The motion for summary judgment outlines that the facts and evidence presented in the case are so overwhelming that no real dispute still exists and requests an immediate ruling because a trial is no longer necessary to determine the case.

“A motion for summary judgment is filed when there is no longer a dispute over the law and the facts,” Durkin said. “The release of the Census data is game-set-match against the Illinois Democrats. Now knowing that their original map is unconstitutional, the Democrats are now scrambling to draw a new backroom map on short notice. There is no way to ‘put the toothpaste back into the tube’ as discussed in our summary judgment motion.”

If the motion is granted by the court, the current plan, HB 2777, will be declared unconstitutional and void without a lengthy trial and provide an opportunity for the process to go to a bipartisan commission.


Background: 

  • The U.S. Census Bureau released the official 2020 decennial census counts, which is sometimes called P.L. 94-171 data, on August 12, 2021. Those counts were released in “legacy format,” which means that they are capable of being read by computer programs commonly used in redistricting and by demographers and statisticians. The Bureau will release interactive data for public consumption later in September, but the counts will be unchanged.
  • Experts and consultants retained by the House and Senate Republican Caucuses computed the population counts for each district in the Democrats’ redistricting plan (H.B. 2777). This is done by overlaying the Democrats’ district boundaries on the population counts.
  • Unlike the use of ACS estimates, the Census counts are reported to the block-level, so no manipulation, assumptions, or algorithms are needed.
  • The U.S. Supreme Court provided instructions for calculating the so-called “maximum population deviation” in Evenwel v. Abbott(2016), based on an earlier 1975 case (Chapman v. Meier). The maximum population deviation of a plan is the sum of the percentage deviations of the most-populated and least-populated districts from perfect population equality.
  • The Democrats’ redistricting plan has a maximum population deviation of 29.88 percent, which is three times the maximum deviation allowed by federal law (10 percent). The least-populated House district is House District 83 (92,390 people), which is 14.91 percent below the average district population, and the most-populated House district is House District 5 (124,836), which is 14.97 percent above the average district population.
  • This total deviation of approximately 30 percent is within the range forecasted in the Republican Leaders’ complaint filed in federal court. Based on simulations of the use of 2005-2009 ACS estimates compared to the 2010 decennial census counts, we had forecasted a deviation of at least 23 percent.
  • Because the Democrats’ plan violates federal law, the Republican Leaders have asked the federal court to declare H.B. 2777 void, meaning it was never of any force or effect. The Illinois Constitution is clear that if no valid plan was in effect on June 30th, responsibility for enacting a plan shifts to the bipartisan Legislative Redistricting Commission.