Voter Petitions for Term Limits in Illinois: A Conflict Between Popular Desire and Constitutional Constraints

676 views

Published on

Paul Hale
JD Candidate
Legal Extern

Published in: News & Politics
0 Comments
0 Likes
Statistics
Notes
  • Be the first to comment

  • Be the first to like this

No Downloads
Views
Total views
676
On SlideShare
0
From Embeds
0
Number of Embeds
270
Actions
Shares
0
Downloads
2
Comments
0
Likes
0
Embeds 0
No embeds

No notes for slide

Voter Petitions for Term Limits in Illinois: A Conflict Between Popular Desire and Constitutional Constraints

  1. 1. Voter Petitions For Term Limits In Illinois: A Conflict Between Popular Desire and Constitutional Constraints Presented By: Paul R. Hale JD Candidate Law & Policy Extern
  2. 2. Summary of Topics • Article of the Illinois Constitution that applies legislative term limits. • Methods of amending the Illinois Constitution. • Illinois Supreme Court Case Law. o Chicago Bar Association v. Illinois State Board of Elections (Il. 1994). o Coalition for Political Honesty v. State Board of Elections (Il. 1980). • What is the likelihood of amending the Illinois Constitution to enact term limits?
  3. 3. Term Limits Are At Issue In Illinois • Legislative term limits have been a popular response to perceived corruption or inaction in state government. • Paul Simon Public Policy Institute polling indicates that 78.7 percent of voters favor term limits (2012). • Illinois Governor Candidate Bruce Rauner and The Committee for Legislative Reform and Term Limits are supporting a petition concerning term limits. o Reduces senate seats from 59 to 41. o Increases house seats from 118 to 123. o Imposes an 8 year term limit on all legislators.
  4. 4. Art. IV Sec. 2(c) of the IL Constitution • Article IV is the Legislative (Leg.) Article of the Illinois Constitution. • Personal Qualifications for Leg. Service o United States citizen. o At least 21 years old. o A resident of the district which he/she is to represent for two years preceding election or appointment. • Term limit language would add a disqualifier to this list.
  5. 5. Three Amendment Methods • The Illinois Constitution provides three different methods for enacting a new amendment. • All found in Article XIV Constitutional Revision. • Article XIV Section 1 – Constitutional Convention (Con Con). • Article XIV Section 2 – General Assembly (GA) Amendment. • Article XIV Section 3 – Voter Initiative Petition.
  6. 6. Constitutional Amendment Methods • Article XIV Constitutional Revision o Section 1 Constitutional Convention  Three-fifths of each house of the GA can propose a Con Con to voters. If a Con Con is not proposed to voters over a twenty year period, a Con Con must be proposed.  A Con Con must be called if approved by voters.  If called, a Con Con will convene and propose amendments to voters.  Amendments become effective if approved voters.
  7. 7. Constitutional Amendment Methods • Article XIV Constitutional Revision o Section 2 Amendments By General Assembly  Amendments may be initiated without a Con Con by either house of the GA.  Amendments approved by three-fifths of each house are submitted to voters.  No more than three proposed article changes in one election. • Limitation does not apply to other amendment methods.  Voters must approve any proposed amendment.
  8. 8. Constitutional Amendment Methods • Article XIV Constitutional Revision o Section 3 Constitutional Initiative For Leg. Article  Amendments to the Leg. Article may be proposed by a voter petition.  The number of signatures must be at least 8% of the total votes cast for governor candidates in the preceding gubernatorial election.  Amendments must be limited to “structural and procedural” subjects contained in the Leg. Article.  If the petition is valid, the proposed amendment is submitted to voters for approval.
  9. 9. Which Method For Term Limits? • Since 1970, there have been twenty-one amendment proposals to the Illinois Constitution. o Term limits have never been proposed as a possible amendment by the GA. • Voter petition method of Article XIV Section 3 is most likely to implement term limits.
  10. 10. Illinois Case Law • Illinois Supreme Court caselaw imposes limitations on the voter petition method. o Chicago Bar Association v. Illinois State Board of Elections (Il. 1994). o Coalition for Political Honesty v. State Board of Elections (Il. 1980).
  11. 11. Chicago Bar Association v. Illinois State Board of Elections (Il. 1994) • Factual Background of the Case o Voters drafted a valid voter petition. o The petition amended Leg. Article Section 2 (a-c) by adding an eight year legislative term limit. o The petition added the language “No person shall be eligible to serve as a member of the General Assembly for more than eight years.” o The validity of the petition is challenged.
  12. 12. Chicago Bar Association v. Illinois State Board of Elections (Il. 1994) • The Court’s Legal Analysis o Is the subject matter of the voter petition within the scope of the Constitutional Revision Article? o Not Structural- The eligibility of an individual legislator does not change the overall legislature. o Not Procedural- Term limits do not change process by which the GA makes law. o Amendment is not procedural, not structural, and certainly not both at the same time.
  13. 13. Chicago Bar Association v. Illinois State Board of Elections (Il. 1994) • The Petition is Invalid. • Dissenting Opinion o The petition changes the composition of the legislature in Leg. Article Section 2. o Constitutional drafters stated that legislature composition changes are valid voter petition subject matter. o The court’s construction of “and” is incorrect. o Petition is not a substantive amendment.
  14. 14. Coalition for Political Honesty v. State Board of Elections (Il. 1980) • Factual Background of the Case o Voters drafted a valid voter petition. o The petition amended Leg. Article Section (1-3) by enacting voting reform and abolishing multi- member districts in the Illinois House. o The petition changed language of Leg. Article Section 1 to call for an Illinois House of 118 Reps, instead of 177 (The Cutback Amendment). o The validity of the petition is challenged.
  15. 15. Coalition for Political Honesty v. State Board of Elections (Il. 1980) • The Court’s Legal Analysis and Ruling o The voter petition can regulate the legislature's self-interest. o Serves as a check on “debilitating legislation.” o The voter petition should not be restrained if it is being applied as the drafters intended. o The Court acknowledges the limited scope of the voter petition. o The Cutback Amendment is a valid voter petition and was later approved by voters.
  16. 16. Analysis of Case Law • Cutback petition is distinguishable from the term limits petition. • Cutback Amendment changes existing text of the Leg. Article, whereas the term limits petition adds language to the Leg. Article. • Term limits are not mentioned in the Leg. Article, therefore language must be added. o The structural and procedural requirement limits the scope of voter petitions.
  17. 17. Committee for Legislative Reform Voter Petition • Petition details o Reduces senate seats from 59 to 41. o Increases house seats from 118 to 123. o Imposes an 8 year term limit on all legislators. • The petition combines Cutback Amendment and term limits petition language. • Petition adds term limit language to the Leg. Article. o A voter petition must serve as a “Constitutional Replace Button.” • Prediction- Petition is likely invalid.
  18. 18. Would the Court Dissect the Petition? • Cutback language of the petition could be preserved. o Reduces senate seats from 59 to 41. o Increases house seats from 118 to 123. • Illinois Supreme Court caselaw does not offer guidance on this possible issue. • Prediction- Court will not dissect the petition because the voters who signed the petition did not agree to a partial petition.
  19. 19. Thank You For Your Attention Special Thanks To David Yepsen Delio Calzolari, Esq. Dr. Charles Leonard Dr. John S. Jackson • Please feel free to address questions or comments to paul.hale@siu.edu.

×