The Center Square

Court Denies Petition Seeking to Block Amendment 1 from Ballot; Plaintiffs to Appeal

June 2, 2022

(The Center Square) – A Sangamon County Circuit Court judge on Thursday denied a petition that sought to block an amendment that would codify union powers in the Illinois state constitution from appearing on the November ballot.

The case was brought by parents and teachers from Chicago Public Schools and claims that Amendment 1 would unconstitutionally enshrine union powers in the Illinois Constitution, making it impossible for lawmakers to curb union powers and giving union contracts more weight than state law. They say that violates federal law governing labor relations.

Attorneys for the plaintiffs from Liberty Justice Center and Illinois Policy Institute say they will appeal.

The lawsuit was filed on April 21 in the Seventh Judicial Circuit Court in Sangamon County.

The petition seeks to block the Illinois Right to Collective Bargaining Amendment, also known as Amendment 1. Amendment 1 was approved in May 2021 with the passage of Senate Joint Constitutional Amendment 11 for the Nov. 8, 2022 ballot.

Mailee Smith of the Illinois Policy Institute explained where they stand in their quest to remove the amendment from the ballots after the court’s decision. 

“The order denying the plaintiffs petition can be appealed to the appellate court,” Smith said. “The Illinois Policy Institute and the Liberty Justice Center do plan on appealing this case on behalf of the plaintiff.” 

The court’s decision to block the petition was based on the process the lawmakers took in adding the amendment to the November ballot. The judge deemed that because lawmakers got the amendment on the ballot legally, they cannot petition to have it removed. 

Smith said this could lead to other questionable amendments being added to future ballots. 

“This means lawmakers could ban any speech, for example, related to the governor, or some other clearly unconstitutional scheme,” Smith said. “Those would have to remain on the ballot based on this court’s decision.” 

Liberty Justice Center President Jacob Huebert released a statement after the court’s ruling.

“The state is asking voters to consider an amendment that contradicts federal law and is therefore unconstitutional. The parents and teachers bringing this legal challenge have the right to block the state from using public funds to promote an unconstitutional ballot measure,” Huebert said. “We will make this argument on appeal and continue to work toward removing this unlawful measure from the ballot.”

If the LJC and IPI lose the appellate process, the amendment will remain on the November ballot.