Articles Posted in Constitutional Analysis

Recapping the previous two blog entries, a majority of the Illinois Second District Appellate Court held: (1) An amendment to Illinois Supreme Court Rule 303(a) applied retroactively so that a premature Notice of Appeal preserved appellate jurisdiction. (See entry 10/29/07, two below.) (2) Separate postdissolution petitions in a divorce case present new claims, but not new actions, so a Rule 304(a) order must be issued to appeal a ruling on fewer than all of the issues. (See entry 10/30/07, directly below.)

The opinion was not without criticism. A special concurrence drew exactly opposite conclusions.

On the question of the retroactive application of the amendment to Rule 303(a), the Concurrence stated that Tamara had a vested right in the trial court’s judgment. That mitigated against a retroactive application of the amendment. To the contrary, the majority applied the amendment retroactively to this case, which allowed Darrell to appeal.

In re Marriage of Duggan offers good analysis by the Second District Illinois Appellate Court of two issues that have been confounding the appellate and family law bars. We’ll look at the case, and an interesting concurring opinion that disagrees with the majority on the appellate issues, in this and the next few entries.

The facts are not complicated. The Duggans’ marriage was dissolved in January 2002. In August 2005, Tamara petitioned for an increase in child support. Pursuant to an agreement, an order was entered stating that Darrell would pay a percentage of his net income.

Darrell then made a timely motion to vacate the order because it did not specify a particular dollar amount for the payment, as is required by the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act. At the same time, Darrell also filed a petition to establish specific visitation times.

Alex T. was involuntarily admitted for mental health treatment. However, at the time the circuit court granted the State’s petition to have Alex admitted, a felony charge was pending against him. Alex argued that the order admitting him for mental health treatment was void. He based his argument on the Illinois Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities Code, which grants circuit court jurisdiction “over persons not charged with a felony.”

The Second District Illinois Appellate Court ruled, by virtue of the legislative limit, that the circuit court did not have jurisdiction over Alex T. In addition to its substantive position, the State also argued that (1) the appeal was moot because the term of admission had expired by the time the appellate court reviewed the case, and (2) the appellate court should not have taken judicial notice of the felony complaint against Alex because it was not submitted to the trial court and thus was not part of the record on appeal. The appellate court rejected both arguments.

As to mootness, the court stated that “… Illinois courts have generally held that review of an involuntary admission order is appropriate despite its expiration, because ‘the collateral consequences related to the stigma of an involuntary admission may confront [the] respondent in the future.’ … This policy is a recognition that the reversal or vacation of an involuntary admission order is, in the real world, often an effective form of relief.”

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.