July 31, 2007

Podcasting Lousin Interview On Illinois Constitution And Constitutional Convention – Cutback Amendment, 2008 Referendum For Con Con, Caring About State Constitutions

In this Track 6, the final installment of my interview with Illinois Constitutional scholar Prof. Lousin, Ann wraps up her discussion of the Cutback Amendment. She also talks about the prospects for another Constitutional Convention in Illinois. (The question of whether to have a Con Con will be on the 2008 election ballot in Illinois.) And finally, Prof. Lousin tells us why, in an era of overwhelming federal control, state constitutions are important.

This track is 16 minutes 28 seconds. If you want to listen to the interview now, just click on the triangle on the left side of the bar right below. To download to your desktop, laptop, or iPod for later listening, click on the MP3 link directly below the bar.

The first five segments of this interview are available directly below.

I am planning to broadcast more interviews of notable people who will be of interest to lawyers. The subject matter I want to cover will concern appellate practice and Illinois constitutional matters. Drop me an email and let me know if you like or dislike this format, or if you have suggestions about subjects or individuals you’d like to hear. (And don’t worry, I’ll get better at asking the questions.)


Interview with Prof. Ann Lousin re Illinois Constitution and Constittutional Convention


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July 29, 2007

Track 5 Of Professor Lousin On The Illinois Constitution Now Podcasting -- The Lock Step Doctrine, The Cut Back Amendment, Initiative and Referendum

In this fifth, and next to last, track of an exclusive interview, Professor Lousin discusses the contours of the Lock Step Doctrine, particularly how the Illinois Supreme Court has applied it to the right of privacy written into the 1970 Illinois Constitution. Professor Lousin also discusses the limited right Illinois citizens have to amend the Illinois Constitution by initiative and referendum, and the Cutback Amendment, the only amendment proposed by initiative that has passed a court challenge. The Cutback Amendment dramatically changed electoral politics in Illinois.

Track 5 is just over 12 minutes. If you want to listen to the interview now, just click on the triangle on the left side of the bar right below. To download to your desktop, laptop, or iPod for later listening, click on the MP3 link directly below the bar.

The first four segments of this interview are available directly below.

I am flattered to tell you that Mazyar Hedayat, who writes the excellent Practice Management Blog, has placed an RSS feed of these podcasts on his blog. Now it’s simple as pie — just a couple of clicks — to listen to the podcast and read the Practice Management Blog. Look for the podcast link on the lower right of the Mazy’s blog.


Prof. Lousin interview re Illinois Constitution and the Illinois Constitutional Convention


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July 26, 2007

Prof. Lousin Discusses The Illinois Constitution. Now Podcasting Track 4 Of Exclusive Interview.

We continue our first podcast interview with Professor Lousin. This track contains Professor Lousin’s thoughts on the Illinois Constitution’s clauses on the Amendatory Veto, ratification of federal constitutional amendments, and the right to bear arms. There also is discussion of how the courts have interpreted Article I of the Illinois Constitution concerning discrimination and the Illinois Equal Rights Amendment.

Track 4 is a touch over 9 minutes. If you want to listen to the interview now, just click on the triangle on the left side of the bar right below. To download to your desktop, laptop, or iPod for later listening, click on the MP3 link directly below the bar.

The first three segments of this interview are available directly below.

Interview with Prof. Ann Lousin re Illinois Constitutional Convention and Illinois Constitution


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July 23, 2007

Podcasting Track 3 Of Lousin On The Illinois Constitution And 1968 Constitutional Convention

On Track 3, Prof. Ann Lousin answers questions about the Illinois Constitution and the 1968 Illinois Constitutional Convention. This portion of the interview focuses on: the ideology of the 1970 Constitution; education in the Constitution; and questions concerning voting by convicted felons, gubernatorial pardons, and the amendatory veto.

Track 3 is 7 minutes 18 seconds. If you want to listen to the interview now, just click on the triangle on the left side of the bar right below. To download to your desktop, laptop, or iPod for later listening, click on the MP3 link directly below the bar.

The first two segments of this podcast are directly below, the entries dated July 19 and 21, 2007.

Interview with Prof. Ann Lousin re Illinois Constitution and Constitutional Convention.


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July 21, 2007

Lousin Remembers The Illinois Constitutional Convention

In this second of six segments of an exclusive interview, Professor Ann Lousin talks about the characters who were involved in the 1968 Illinois Constitutional Convention. Who were the delegates? Who were the movers and shakers? And what role did the independent Democrats from Chicago play?

This track is 7 minutes 55 seconds. If you want to listen to the interview now, just click on the triangle on the left side of the bar right below. To download to your desktop, laptop, or iPod for later listening, click on the MP3 link directly below the bar.

The first segment of this interview was posted on July 19, 2007, and is available directly below.


Interview with Prof. Ann Lousin Track 2 re Illinois Constitution and 1968 Constitutional Convention


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July 19, 2007

Interview With Professor Ann Lousin Now Podcasting

Professor Ann Lousin is among the finest people I have known. Lucky for us she also is among the true experts on the Illinois Constitution. Soon after her academic studies, she was a researcher at the 1968 Illinois Constitutional Convention. In this first audio podcast on illinoisappellatelawyerblog.com, Ann talks about the '68 Convention and the surrounding politics, the Illinois Constitution and how it has been interpreted, and the prospects for another constitutional convention. (The question of whether to have a constitutional convention will be on the 2008 general election ballot in Illinois.)

This interview is broken into six segments. This Track 1 is 7 minutes 30 seconds, and focuses on the social and political climate in Illinois that gave rise to the '68 Convention.

I am planning to broadcast a new segment of this interview every other day or so for the next 10 days.

Quick housekeeping note. If you want to listen to the interview now, just click on the triangle on the left side of the bar right below. To download to your laptop or iPod for later listening, click on the MP3 link directly below the bar.

Interview with Prof. Ann Lousin Track 1 re Illinois Constiutional and Constitutional Convention


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July 7, 2007

More Thoughts From An Unconstrained Litigator. Writing An Appellate Brief.

The second in the series of “Thoughts From An Unconstrained Litigator,” is now available for your downloading, amusement, knee-slapping laughter, criticism, and, I hope, thoughtful consideration. Read “Writing An Appellate Brief, Or, How To Make Tax Law An Interesting Read,” by yours truly. It’s posted right here, on the shameless self-promotion section of www.illinoislocalcounsel.com.

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July 5, 2007

Illinois Supreme Court Finds Substantial Compliance Of Chinese Language Referendum Despite Inexact Translation

A referendum was held to determine whether the voters wanted liquor to be sold at retail in their precincts. The ballots were printed in English, Spanish, and Chinese. These consolidated lawsuits considered whether the translation of “sale at retail” to Chinese was substantial compliance with the statutory requirements of the Illinois Election Code.

The supreme court applied different standards of review to different parts of the question. “We again note that different standards of review apply to the factual and legal components of this issue. While the ultimate legal question of whether the use of the character xiao shou was in substantial compliance with the Act is reviewed de novo, the underlying factual matters will be reviewed under a manifest weight of the evidence standard.”

This method of analysis makes more sense than — as I suspect other courts would have done — using the “mixed question of law and fact” standard of review. That standard, which looks more and more to represent a failure to face the more difficult analysis posed by the dual standards of review the court used here, asks whether the trial court’s decision was “clearly erroneous.”

In the end, the Illinois Supreme Court allowed the referendum results to stand. You can read the whole opinion in Samour, Inc. v. Board of Election Commissioners of the City of Chicago, Nos. 101902, 102227 (1/19/07), by clicking here.

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July 2, 2007

Illinois Supreme Court Spanks Trial Court And Chicago Elections Board For Ruling Statute Unconstitutional

In twin cases, former aldermen Virgil Jones and Ambrosio Medrano, both convicted of federal felonies for misconduct in office, filed nomination papers to run for alderman again. Challenges were made to their nomination papers on the basis that the Illinois Municipal Code prohibited convicted felons from serving in an “elective municipal office.”

In both cases, the Chicago Election Board’s hearing examiner concluded that Jones and Medrano were ineligible to serve, and recommended that they not appear on the election ballot. Appeals were made to the Chicago Election Board. In both cases, the Board rejected the challenges because, it said, the statute prohibiting convicted felons from serving in an elective municipal office was unconstitutional. The challengers sought review in the Circuit Court of Cook County, Illinois. In both cases, the circuit court affirmed the ruling of the Board.

The challengers sought direct review in the Illinois Supreme Court. The Supreme Court dismissed the appeals, stating that the cases were more appropriately handled by supervisory orders than by direct appeal.

The supreme court ruled that the Chicago Board of Elections did not have authority to consider the constitutionality of the Illinois statute. The orders by the Board rejecting the challenges to Jones and Medrano therefore were void.

The Illinois Supreme Court then ruled that the circuit court improperly affirmed the Board. The supreme court stated that the circuit court should have vacated the Board’s ruling and sent the case back the Board to rule in conformance with the statute that prohibits convicted felons from holding office. “Had the done that here, it [circuit court] would have had no need to address the merits of the Election Board’s constitutional analysis. Without a ruling of the constitutionality of the statute, there would in turn, have been no basis for seeking direct review by our court under Rule 302(a).”

For good measure, the Illinois Supreme Court found two more reasons that the circuit court’s “resolution of this case is fatally infirm.”

• First, the circuit court did not comply with Supreme Court Rule 18, which requires “that the circuit court state in writing that the finding of unconstitutionality is necessary to the decision or judgment rendered and that such decision or judgment cannot rest upon an alternate ground.” The supreme court stated that the non-constitutional flaw was not mentioned in the circuit court’s ruling.

• The Supreme Court was miffed that the Circuit Court of Cook County ignored controlling precedent from the Fifth District Court of Appeals. Using colorful language, the supreme court made it clear that the circuit court was not at liberty to ignore the Fifth District. “Although Hofer was decided by a panel of the appellate from the Fifth District, not the First District, where the Circuit Court of Cook County is located, that is of no consequence . . . The notion that the circuit courts are bound only by the appellate court decisions from their own district is a relic of the pre-1964 Illinois Constitution of 1870 and has been expressly disavowed by our court . . . Until this court says otherwise, an appellate court’s decision must therefore be followed regardless of the appellate court’s district.”

The Illinois Supreme Court chose to rule by supervisory order rather than issue an opinion through the normal course. Although supervisory orders are disfavored, it was appropriate in this case because “the manner in which this case was handled presents important issues regarding the administration of justice, and direct and immediate action is necessary to insure that the Election Board adheres to the law and that any challenge to its decision in the circuit court comports with controlling principles of judicial review.”

Both of these cases were decided by four justices. Justices Thomas, Freeman, and Burke took no part in the consideration or decision of the cases. You can have the full opinions in each case by clicking on the case citation links: Bryant v. Board of Election Commissioners of the City of Chicago, No. 104105 (2/23/07); Delgado v. Board of Election Commissioners of the City of Chicago, No. 104112 (2/23/07).

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July 1, 2007

Filing Amended Complaint Waives Right To Appeal Summary Judgment Against Original

Rhonda Gilley broke her ankle when she slipped on unsecured carpeting in an apartment building. She sued the landlord for negligently maintaining the property. The landlord moved for summary judgment, and prevailed. Rhonda moved for reconsideration and to file an amended complaint. Her reconsideration motion was denied, but she was allowed to file an amended pleading.

Rhonda’s amended complaint did not incorporate or refer to her first complaint. The landlord moved to dismiss the amended complaint. He won, so Rhonda appealed both the summary judgment and the dismissal.

The Second District Appellate Court ruled that the summary judgment in favor of the landlord was not properly before the court. “[T]he issue of the propriety of the trial court's grant of summary judgment is not properly before this court, for when an amendment is filed that is complete in itself and that does not refer to or adopt by reference the prior pleadings, the earlier pleadings are effectively withdrawn and cease to be a part of the record for most purposes . . . Thus, the filing of an amended pleading waives any objection to the trial court's ruling on any former complaint . . . Here, by filing an amended complaint, plaintiff was precluded from appealing the order on her original complaint, and we restrict our review to the court's dismissal of plaintiff's amended complaint.”

Get the whole case, Gilley v. Kiddel, No. 2-06-0505 (3/21/07), by clicking here.

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