07/20/2011 03:17 pm ET Updated Sep 19, 2011

Illinois Redistricting: State GOP Leaders File Suit Over New, Democrat-Skewed Map

Two of the Illinois General Assembly's most powerful Republican legislators filed a federal lawsuit Wednesday that claims the state's newly drawn congressional map violates the 1965 Voting Rights Act by restricting black and Latino voters' ability to be fairly represented in government.

In a prepared statement, Illinois House Minority Leader Tom Cross (R-Oswego), one of the lawmakers who filed the suit, said his Democratic colleagues who created and implemented the new map "should be ashamed of themselves," according to the Chicago Sun-Times.

"The Democrats passed a map this session that we believe is in direct violation of the Federal Voting Rights Act and some of our most basic rights under the constitution," Cross said. "We are optimistic that the court will agree with us and will help give our residents a Fair Map that accurately reflects our population, especially our growing Latino population."

The lawsuit further argues that the map deliberately looks to disempower the state's Republican Party for the next decade, when districts are next up for a remake, the Chicago Tribune reported. Many of the new districts, according to the suit, are specifically intended to "slither across traditional lines in order to place multiple incumbent Republicans into one district." In particularly precarious positions are five freshman Republicans.

Senate Minority Leader Christine Radogno (R-Lemont) filed the lawsuit with Cross. Rep. Adam Brown (R-Decatur) and four individuals of black or Latino heritage were also named as co-plaintiffs in the suit, the Sun-Times reported.