Following the lead of some of the top Republican members of the Illinois General Assembly, who last week filed suit over the state's redrawn House and Senate boundaries, a group of current and former Illinois Republican congressmen have filed a federal lawsuit that claims that the new Democrat-drawn congressional boundaries discriminate against Latino and Republican voters and violate the Voting Rights Act.
The Chicago Sun-Times reports that the group, operating under the name of the Committee For A Fair And Balanced Map, filed suit against the Illinois State Board of Elections on Wednesday. The plaintiffs include all sitting Illinois Republican congressman except for one (Rep. Tim Johnson of Urbana), in addition to a number of former Republican legislators from the state, including J. Dennis Hastert, Tom Ewing and Lynn Martin. The new map is expected to set the scene for a much reduced Republican contingent in the state's congressional delegation.
The Republican lawmakers contend that the proposed congressional map drawn by their Democratic counterparts and approved by Governor Pat Quinn (D) represent a "partisan gerrymander." Of particular issue for them is the 4th congressional district, which they argue "packed" a supermajority of Latino voters in an effort to disable their growing electoral presence in the state, the Sun-Times reports.
Further, the plaintiffs contend, if the map stands, many Illinois Republicans will be forced to face off against each other because of the way the map was drawn to protect Democratic incumbents like Reps. Dan Lipinski and Mike Quigley at the expense of Republicans like Judy Biggert, whose Hinsdale home would newly be included with Quigley's district's new southern boundary, as the Chicago Tribune reports.
Most of the five freshman Republicans are in particularly uncomfortable positions in the new map, as HuffPost Chicago has previously reported. Republicans Joe Walsh and Randy Hultgren are among those who have been drawn into the same district, forcing a potential primary battle between the two.
The Republicans released a joint statement Wednesday blasting the map and expressing optimism that they will successfully dismantle it, as the Chicago Daily-Herald reports:
"While we are disappointed that Gov. Quinn chose to rubber-stamp this flawed map, we are confident that an impartial review of the facts in court will expose the serious defects in this map and reverse the naked partisan power-grab contemplated by the Democrats," the statement read.
The governor, on the other hand, has continued to defend the map, as a Quinn spokeswoman told AP that "[e]nsuring that everyone's voice is heard in government is a fundamental part of our democracy. ... This open and transparent process resulted in a map that represents our diverse state and protects the voting rights of minorities."
Johnson, the lone Republican congressman who did not join in the lawsuit, previously indicated that he felt a court would not strike down the redrawn map, but other GOP leadership -- including U.S. Senator Mark Kirk -- have indicated they feel the lawsuit has a "pretty good" shot at success.