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Republican Group Sues Illinois Over New Congressional Map

July 27 (Bloomberg) -- Republican lawmakers from Illinois and a group led by former legislators sued the state of Illinois over a new map for the state’s congressional districts, claiming it discriminates against Latino and Republican voters.

The current lawmakers, including representatives Judy Biggert and Robert J. Dold, and the Committee for a Fair and Balanced Map filed suit against the Illinois State Board of Elections in federal court in Chicago today, accusing the state of violating the First Amendment and the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment.

The not-for-profit committee was created by Illinois citizens concerned about the congressional redistricting process in Illinois, and includes former Republican legislators U.S. House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert, Tom Ewing and Lynn Martin, the committee said in the lawsuit.

“Without any of the promised public hearings, the State of Illionis has adopted a new map for the state’s federal congressional districts … that blatantly discriminates against Latino and Republican voters,” the committee said in the suit.

Plan Defended

The state’s House of Representatives approved a bill creating the new map on May 30, followed the next day by the state Senate, and Democratic Governor Pat Quinn signed it into law on June 24.

Quinn defended the redistricting plan in a statement, noting that more than 30 public hearings were held around the state prior to its passage.

“This open and transparent process resulted in a map that represents our diverse state and protects the voting rights of minorities,” Quinn said in the statement.

The case is Committee for a Fair and Balanced Map v. Illinois State Board of Elections, 11-cv-05065, U.S. District Court, Northern District of Illinois (Chicago.)

To contact the reporter on this story: Chris Dolmetsch in New York at cdolmetsch@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Hytha at mhytha@bloomberg.net.

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