CHICAGO - Friday, Cook County Circuit Court Judge Mary Mikva ruled against the Committee for Legislative Reform and Term Limits and in favor of the Madigan-backed lawsuit, setting back an effort to vote on the Term Limits and Reform constitutional amendment in November.
The group, which collected 600,000 petition signatures to get a constitutional amendment setting two-term limits on General Assembly members, said they will appeal Judge Mikva's decision to the Illinois Supreme Court.
“Today we saw the entrenched special interests that fund and support the political status quo prevail, and the people of Illinois be denied the right to chose for themselves if term limits should be the law in Illinois,” said Term Limits and Reform Executive Director Mark Campbell.
“We’ve always known that term limits opponents would use the courts to try to protect the failed status quo, and we’ve long been prepared to defend our initiative in the Illinois Supreme Court, which we intend to do. We are confident that we will prevail there, and the people’s voices will be heard in November.”
The Illinois Supreme Court justices are elected to 10 year terms in partisan elections. Of the current seven judges, four are Democrats and three are Republicans. House Speaker Mike Madigan - who is also the Illinois Democratic Party chairman - was actively involved in electing the four Democrats to their judicial seats. Madigan is staunchly opposed to the term limit effort - an obvious challenge that could affect the Democrat judges' ultimate decision whether or not to allow the Term Limit effort on the ballot.
More on the campaign funding of the Illinois Supreme Court justices HERE.
At the very least, the term limit effort's success or failure could set the stage for future Rauner-Madigan horn-locking.
The amendment limits state lawmakers to 8 years in the general assembly, while also making other structural and procedural changes to the legislature, including raising the threshold to override a gubernatorial veto to bring Illinois in line with 36 other states, and changing the number of state house and senate districts.