On October 15, 2021 the East St. Louis Branch NAACP, the Illinois State Conference of the NAACP, and the United Congress of Community and Religious Organizations filed a federal lawsuit against the Illinois State Board of Elections, its members, and state legislative leaders challenging several districts within Illinois's enacted state House redistricting plan as violating the U.S. Constitution and the federal Voting Rights Act. The plaintiffs' complaint centered around Illinois House Districts (HDs) 112, 113, and 114, wherein the plaintiffs asserted African-American populations were shuffled around to make other districts safer for their white incumbent legislators at the expense of minority voters' ability to elect their candidates of choice. Specifically, plaintiffs alleged all three House Districts were racial gerrymanders in violation of the 14th and 15th Amendment because the General Assembly's line drawing decisions were based predominantly on racial considerations, and further that all three districts also violated § 2 of the Voting Rights Act because their new configurations had the effect of diluting the voting strength of African-Americans residing therein. The plaintiffs sought a judicial declaration that HDs 112, 113 and 114 were unconstitutional and unlawful, an injunction barring the defendants from implementing or using the plan in any future elections, and for the court to cause a new, valid redistricting plan to be enacted.
On December 30, 2021 the three-judge panel issued a per curiam opinion finding in favor of the defendants and upholding the challenged districts. The court found there was sufficient evidence of crossover voting in the relevant areas to defeat the plaintiffs' claims of racially polarized voting, the third Gingles precondition required to establish a § 2 violation. Furthermore, the court rejected the plaintiffs' racial gerrymandering claims on the grounds the General Assembly's overwhelmingly predominant consideration when drawing the plans was political, not racial, gerrymandering. While noting that partisan gerrymandering remained controversial, the court nevertheless cited the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling of federal nonjusticiability in Rucho v. Common Cause and stated that such issues are to be resolved outside the federal courts.
U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division - No. 1:21-cv-5512