Backers of a ballot initiative seeking to impose term limits on state lawmakers will not be able to appeal a ruling that deemed their proposal unconstitutional directly to the Illinois Supreme Court.
The high court today issued a one-sentence order, denying a motion for a direct appeal filed last month by the Committee for Legislative Reform and Term Limits, an intervenor in Frank Clark et. al, v. Illinois State Board of Elections, et al.
The justices offered no explanation for their decision, other than saying the motion was denied pursuant to Supreme Court Rule 302(b), which governs direct appeals in “cases in which the public interest requires expeditious determination” and is the rule the committee cited in its motion.
The ruling basically means the case will have to go through the court’s normal appeals process, which requires a ruling from the appellate court before parties can even ask the Supreme Court to weight in.
But, given that the deadline for ballot initiatives to be certified by the state board of elections is late next month, the proposal’s backers will need to ask for an expedited hearing if they want the courts resolve the matter before then.
The ballot initiative, backed by Republican gubernatorial candidate Bruce Rauner, wanted to ask voters whether eight-year term limits should be placed on state legislators. The proposal would have also changed the size of the General Assembly.
Cook County Circuit Judge Mary Mikva late last month issued a ruling in the suit, which was brought by a group of business executives, deeming the proposal unconstitutional. The committee filed its motion for a direct appeal with the Supreme Court a few days later.
Chicago attorney Michael Kasper, who represents the plaintiffs in the suit, declined to comment on today’s Supreme Court order as the case remains pending in the appellate court.
J. Timothy Eaton, a Chicago attorney representing the committee, did not immediately respond to a voice message and email left for him early this evening.