JB Pritzker signs bill limiting lawsuit filings challenging executive orders to two counties

Illinois Paid Leave
Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker looks out over the crowd during the Illinois Paid Leave bill signing ceremony Monday, March 13, 2023, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast) Charles Rex Arbogast/AP

JB Pritzker signs bill limiting lawsuit filings challenging executive orders to two counties

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Gov. J.B. Pritzker (D-IL) signed a law on Tuesday requiring all lawsuits that seek to challenge the constitutionality of Illinois executive orders or state laws to be filed in only two counties.

The law now requires lawsuits of that nature to be filed in Cook and Sangamon counties. The bill passed along party lines, and Democrats praised the bill as a prevention method for biased rulings.

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The two counties are home to the most politically significant cities in Illinois. Cook County houses Chicago, and Sangamon County is home to Springfield — the state capital.

Democrats who supported the legislation believe the law will prevent people from filing a lawsuit in whichever county they believe will give them the most favorable ruling. They also argued the law will conserve resources for the attorney general’s office, which represents the state in court.

Lawsuits have been filed against Pritzker’s executive orders, and many have been related to either pandemic-era ordinances or recently-enacted laws relating to eliminating cash bail and banning certain semi-automatic firearms and high-capacity ammunition magazines.

Pritzker signed the gun ban into law on Jan. 10, and the lawsuit from groups challenging the law is headed to an appeals court for arguments. The U.S. Supreme Court declined to halt the ban while it is being considered.

Republicans and opponents of the lawsuit law have decried the measure as a power ploy from the Democrats.

State Senate Republican Leader John Curran said in a statement via the Chicago Tribune on Tuesday that it “is clearly an attempt by the governor and the attorney general to send constitutional challenges to courts that they believe will be more favorable to the Administration.”

“In doing so, they are discrediting judges in suburban and downstate Illinois, and creating geographic barriers to citizens accessing our court system,” Curran said.

Republican state Rep. Dan Caulkins, who was one of several who joined the gun ban lawsuit, objected to the bill on the floor in May.

“They pass unconstitutional laws to make law-abiding citizens criminals, and then they make those same citizens travel hundreds of miles to a kangaroo court that they control,” Caulkins said of Democrats at the time. “Tyrants are always the same, whether kings or lawless Chicago politicians.”

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Cook County state attorney’s office is currently under the direction of Kim Foxx, who announced in April that she would not be seeking reelection for a third term. She has been knocked for her approach to prosecution, with critics saying she is soft on crime, and her handling of high-profile cases over the years.

Dan Wright, the state’s attorney for Sangamon County, is a Republican. The circuit court in the county is held by a Republican majority of judges as well.

© 2023 Washington Examiner

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