Court tosses GOP lawsuit over Illinois' U.S. House districts

December 15, 2011

(Photo/AP File)
The Democratic-drawn U.S. House map for Illinois will stand, as a federal court panel rejected arguments in a GOP lawsuit.

New congressional districts drawn to favor Illinois Democrats will stand. That's the word from a federal court panel, which ruled against a lawsuit brought by most of the state's Republican members of Congress.

The Republican lawsuit claimed Democrats who drew the map engaged in partisan and racial discrimination.

On the partisan gerrymandering charge, three federal judges effectively said, yeah - but so what? They agreed the map was "a blatant political move to increase the number of Democratic congressional seats," but said Republicans failed to propose a "workable standard" to test if the move was "unconstitutionally excessive."

The lawsuit's other main argument centered on the "C-shaped" 4th Congressional, designed in the 90s to elect a Hispanic member of Congress. Republicans alleged Democrats this year tried to pack Latinos into that district, diluting their influence in neighboring ones.

The court dismissed that claim, finding that the "predominant intent" of Democrats was not one of race, but actually - you guessed it - partisanship.

A statement from the Republican members of Congress said they are "disappointed," and "evaluating our options for future action."

The Democratic-drawn U.S. House map for Illinois has forced two Republican incumbents, Reps. Adam Kinzinger and Donald Manzullo, into a primary contest. The boundaries is also likely to put at least four other GOP members of Congress into politically perilous general election match-ups.

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