Illinois Democrats Introduce Legislation to Limit Where Citizens Can File Lawsuits Challenging Constitutionality of State Laws

Illinois Senate President Don Harmon/Image: @DonHarmonIL/Twitter


Illinois Senate President Don Harmon, a Democrat, introduced legislation that would rewrite the rules on where Illinois residents can file lawsuits challenging the constitutionality of state laws.

The Cook County Record reports, “To this point, Illinoisans who believe Illinois lawmakers or other officials have passed laws or taken actions that violate the state constitution or their constitutional rights have been authorized to file such challenges in any court in any of the state’s 25 judicial circuits, covering the state’s 102 counties. Such courts are known as courts of general jurisdiction, meaning they are authorized to consider legal disputes involving any subjects not specifically reserved for the Illinois Supreme Court.”

But House Bill 3062 would change that. Under the new Bill, 23 of the circuit courts currently being utilized would no longer be allowed.  Lawsuits could only be brought in Cook County, where Chicago is, or Sangamon County, where the state capital of Springfield sits.

The legislation emphasizes that it does not matter how far potential plaintiffs may live from the two districts stating “the doctrine of forum non conveniens does not apply” to such actions.

From The Cook County Record:

But under the legislation, docketed as amendments to a bill known as House Bill 3062, the Democratic supermajority in the Illinois General Assembly could make 23 of those circuit courts off limits for lawsuits challenging the constitutionality of Illinois laws or actions taken by Illinois state officials.

Instead, such lawsuits could only be brought in Cook County or Sangamon County courts.

Thus far, Harmon has filed three proposed amendments to the legislation. Taken together, the restrictions would apply to actions “brought against the State … asserting a cause of action for a violation of the Constitution of the State of Illinois” or to actions “brought against the State of any of its officers, employees, or agents acting in an official capacity … seeking declaratory or injunctive relief against any State statute, rule, or executive order based on an alleged violation of the Constitution of the State of Illinois or the Constitution of the United States.”



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