What a great Dissent.

February 18, 2017 § Leave a comment

JUSTICE THOMAS, dissenting:
The Illinois Constitution is meant to prevent tyranny, not to enshrine it.
Today, just as a critical election board deadline is about to expire, four members of our court have delivered, as a fait accompli, nothing less than the nullification of a critical component of the Illinois Constitution of 1970. In direct contradiction of the clear and unambiguous intention of the people who drafted the constitution and the citizens who voted to adopt it, the majority has irrevocably severed a vital lifeline created by the drafters for the express purpose of enabling later generations of Illinoisans to use their sovereign authority as a check against self-interest by the legislature. When the Reporter of Decisions sends out the majority’s disposition, he should include a bright orange warning sticker for readers to paste over article XIV, section 3, of their personal copies of the 1970 Constitution reading, “Out of Service.”
The majority’s ruling in this case comes at a particularly unfortunate time. In Illinois, as throughout the United States, there is a palpable sense of frustration by voters of every political affiliation that self-perpetuating institutions of government have excluded them from meaningful participation in the political process.
In their wisdom, the drafters of the 1970 Constitution foresaw just this problem and fashioned a clear and specific mechanism to insure that the legislature could never have the upper hand on the people of Illinois, in whose hands the sovereign power of this State rests.
¶ 60
¶ 61
– 16 –
¶ 62
¶ 63 ¶ 64 ¶ 65
¶ 66 ¶ 67
That mechanism is article XIV, section 3. In undertaking our constitutional duties, we, as judges, are obliged to resolve any doubt as to the meaning of that provision in favor of the right of the people to have a voice in government, as the drafters intended. I would honor that obligation and permit the ballot initiative proposed here to go forward. The majority’s decision to quash it is no less than the death knell of article XIV, section 3’s promise of direct democracy as a check on legislative self-interest.
Today a muzzle has been placed on the people of this State, and their voices supplanted with judicial fiat.
The whimper you hear is democracy stifled.


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