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Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Federal Appeals Court Also Upholds Appointment of Chicago School Board Members

Last week, we wrote about an Illinois appellate court ruling that upheld the state law that provides for appointment (rather than election) of Chicago School Board members. In that case, the challenge was that the law violated the Illinois constitution because it treated Chicago differently than other school districts that elected their school board members. You can read that post here

A few days ago, a federal appeals court also addressed the constitutionality of this law, but this time the challenge was that the law violated the Voting Rights Act, a federal law, because the system allegedly deprived minority citizens of their right to vote for school board members. Quinn v. State of Illinois (7th Cir. April 10, 2017). The district court had dismissed the complaint, and the plaintiffs appealed to the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals.

The Seventh Circuit also upheld the law, finding no violation of the Voting Rights Act. First, the law did not treat citizens or voters differently, because all citizens were treated the same (in Chicago, all citizens were treated the same - they had no vote, and outside Chicago, they all had the right to vote). The Court also rejected the argument that allowing the Mayor to appoint the school board members violated their equal protection and due process rights, finding that a U.S. Supreme Court case had previously held that appointing a school board is constitutionally permitted.

Post Authored by Julie Tappendorf


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