Suburban House Republicans had harsh criticisms for the Democrats’ proposed Supreme Court district map on Friday, calling it a “manipulation” designed to weaken GOP presence on the court.
Democrats say it was time to revise district boundaries, which were drawn in 1963.
Republicans also complained they had little time to consider the map, which was released Tuesday and introduced Friday on the House floor as an amendment to a Senate bill that originally aimed to allow court clerks to accept payment of fines or fees by certified check.
The House passed the court remap legislation by a 72-45 vote.
Democrats say major population changes justify a new Illinois Supreme Court map because of a constitutional requirement that the four districts outside Cook County have “substantially equal population.”
Three justices are elected from Cook County’s First District and one from each of the other four districts. The court now has a 4-3 Democratic majority.
The proposed map divides the suburbs among the 2nd and 3rd districts, with a 4th district encompassing western Illinois and a southern 5th district occupying nearly half the state.
Elmhurst Republican Deanne Mazzoci accused Democrats of redrawing the map for political reasons, such as maximizing the likelihood the state’s high court would strike down any future independent maps constitutional amendment, as the Illinois Supreme Court did in 2016.
“Make no mistake about it: That ballot initiative was a struggle for power,” Mazzochi said. “The people wanted the power back from the political insiders who refused to pass a fair maps amendment, who refused to put it on the ballot, who refused to put it on the ballot in this legislature.”
Mark Batinick, a Republican from Plainfield, said to bill sponsor Curtis Tarver, a Democrat from Chicago; “It’s clear you’re not writing this legislation, involved in this legislation, I am not sure how much you know about this legislation.”
Tarver faced frequent questioning about who drew the maps and said in his “best estimation” it was a licensed Illinois attorney.
“I did not draft the legislation. I did not craft the legislation,” Tarver said.
Geneva Republican Dan Ugaste questioned how independent from the other branches of government the Illinois Supreme Court would remain under this new map.
• Capitol News Illinois contributed to this report.