Cincinnati Insurance Co. v. Chapman

Annotate this Case
Cincinnati Insurance Co. v. Chapman, Nos. 83223, 83241, 83312, 83404 (2/3/98)
Docket Nos. 83223, 83241, 83312, 83404 cons.--Agenda 32--
September 1997.

CINCINNATI INSURANCE COMPANY et al., Movants, v.
HONORABLE CHARLES W. CHAPMAN, Justice of the
Appellate Court, Fifth District, et al., Respondents.--
ILLINOIS CENTRAL RAILROAD COMPANY, Movant, v.
HONORABLE CHARLES W. CHAPMAN, Justice of the
Appellate Court, Fifth District, et al., Respondents.--LINDA
UTSLER, Movant, v. JUSTICES OF THE APPELLATE
COURT, FIFTH DISTRICT, et al., Respondents.--THE
ILLINOIS STATE BAR ASSOCIATION, et al., Appellees, v.
MIKE MATHIS, Circuit Clerk of Macoupin County, et al.,
Appellants.
Filed February 3, 1998.

CHIEF JUSTICE FREEMAN delivered the opinion of the
court:
The question presented for our review in these consolidated
appeals is whether the Judicial Redistricting Act of 1997
comports with the mandates of the Illinois Constitution. For the
reasons that follow, we hold that it does not.

BACKGROUND
The Redistricting Act of 1997
The 89th Illinois General Assembly passed Public Act 89--
719 on January 7, 1997, and the Governor signed it into law on
March 7, 1997. The legislation, which is referred to as the
Judicial Redistricting Act of 1997 (the Act), took effect
immediately upon its signing and repealed the Judicial Districts
Act (705 ILCS 21/90 (West 1996)). See Pub. Act 89--719, secs.
90, 99, eff. March 7, 1997. The Act geographically restructures
all five judicial districts throughout the State of Illinois for the
purpose of electing supreme and appellate court judges.
Specifically, section 5 of the Act states that "[t]he First Judicial
District shall consist of Cook County and shall be comprised of
Supreme Court Judicial Districts 1A, 1B, and 1C." Pub. Act 89--
719, sec. 5, eff. March 7, 1997. Sections 10, 15, and 20 identify
the townships within Cook County that shall comprise Districts
1A, 1B, and 1C. Pub. Act 89--719, secs. 10, 15, 20, eff. March
7, 1997. The Act also changes the boundaries of the remaining
four judicial districts. To that end, sections 25, 30, 35, and 40
identify the various counties that shall comprise the Second,
Third, Fourth, and Fifth Judicial Districts. Pub. Act 89--719,
secs. 25, 30, 35, 40, eff. March 7, 1997. Section 45 states that
"[a]ll judicial districts created by this Act for the purpose of
electing judges shall not be altered by operation of any other
statute, ordinance, or resolution." Pub. Act 89--719, sec. 45, eff.
March 7, 1997. Section 50 of the Act contains the
implementation schedule for each of the newly created seven
supreme court districts. Pub. Act 89--719, sec. 50, eff. March 7,
1997. Due to the creation of the new boundaries for the judicial
districts, the Act also amends the Appellate Court Act (705
ILCS 25/1 (West 1996)) with respect to the election and
retention of the appellate judges affected by the new boundaries
created for judicial districts two through five. Pub. Act 89--719,
sec. 95, eff. March 7, 1997. The Act further contains a
severability clause (Pub. Act 89--719, sec. 55, eff. March 7,
1997) and certain amendments to the Election Code which
require judicial elections to fill vacancies in the office of
supreme court judge. Pub. Act 89--719, sec. 85, eff. March 7,
1997. The amendments provide that the Governor shall issue
writs of election when vacancies occur on the supreme court.

The Cook County Litigation
On March 10, 1997, the Chicago Bar Association and the
Illinois State Bar Association filed two lawsuits in the circuit
court of Cook County against the Secretary of State and the
State Board of Elections, seeking to enjoin implementation of
the Act on the basis of its unconstitutionality. The circuit court
ultimately ruled that the Act was unconstitutional in its entirety.
Chicago Bar Ass'n v. Boyle, Nos. 97--CH--2903, 97--CH--2904
cons. (Cir. Ct. Cook Co. March 31, 1997). Specifically, the
court found that the Act contravened the constitutional
prohibition against the subdivision of the First Judicial District
and that these unconstitutional provisions could not be severed
from the remainder of the Act. In addition, the circuit court
ruled that even if the unconstitutional provisions could be
severed from the remainder of the Act, the redistricting of
judicial districts two through five was constitutionally infirm due
to the fact that the legislature drew boundaries which
impermissibly divided several judicial circuits. Furthermore, the
court agreed with the plaintiffs' contention that the Act's special
election provisions violated article VI, section 10, of the 1970
Constitution, which mandates that the term of office for a
supreme and appellate court judge be 10 years. The court also
found that the General Assembly did not comport with the
requirement of article IV, section 8(d), that a bill be read by title
on three different days in each house. The circuit court's ruling
was never appealed.

Effect of the Boyle Ruling
On April 7, 1997, the Fourth District of our appellate court
took notice of the circuit court's ruling in the Boyle case and
ordered that appeals within the district should be processed
according to the law as it existed prior to the Act's effective
date. See People v. Dainty, No. 4--97--0221 (4th Dist. April 7,
1997) (unpublished order). As a result, the appellate court
transferred the appeal--which had been docketed according to
the redistricting mandated by the Act--back to the appellate
district in which it would previously have been docketed.
Although the appellate court acknowledged that it was not
bound by the circuit court's ruling in Boyle, it recognized that
a certain degree of uncertainty and confusion currently existed
with respect to the proper constitutional venue for appeals in
this state.
This court thereafter entered an administrative order in
Dainty in which we (i) vacated the appellate court's order and
(ii) directed it to reinstate Dainty's appeal. We further found
that the "decision of the circuit court in Boyle is binding only
on the parties thereto, as law of the case, and is not binding on
the Supreme, Appellate, or Circuit Courts of Illinois." We
therefore ordered that the Fourth District "shall receive, docket,
and process all appeals coming to it from those counties within
its appellate jurisdiction as defined by the Judicial Redistricting
Act of 1997." Although both the Boyle ruling and the Dainty
order are not before this court today, both cases played key
roles in the causes consolidated for our review today.

The Current Litigation
The effect of the administrative order entered by this court
in Dainty is at issue in Docket Nos. 83223, 83241, and 83312,
all of which are original actions in this court for supervisory
orders. We briefly set out the facts pertinent to each motion.
In Docket No. 83223, movant Cincinnati Insurance
Company (Cincinnati) filed an appeal from a judgment of the
sixth judicial circuit, Macon County, with the clerk of the
appellate court for the Fourth District. The notice was eventually
sent to the clerk of the Fifth District of the appellate court in
accordance with the Act. On April 8, 1997, the appellate court,
Fifth District, entered a per curiam order transferring the appeal
to the Fourth District. Like the Fourth District in Dainty, the
Fifth District noted that it was not bound by the actions of the
circuit court of Cook County in the Boyle litigation, but
nevertheless deemed it both appropriate and necessary, as a
matter of comity, to recognize and acquiesce in the Boyle
ruling. However, the Fifth District vacated its order and
reinstated the appeal the next day in accordance with this court's
administrative order in Dainty. On May 6, 1997, Cincinnati filed
a motion for supervisory order in this court, claiming that the
Act is unconstitutional. Respondents, Warren F. Jesek, D.D.S.,
and Warren F. Jesek, D.D.S., Ltd., oppose Cincinnati's motion.
In Docket No. 83241, movant Illinois Central Railroad
Company (railroad) filed a motion for a supervisory order
concerning the appropriate constitutional venue of a Rule 308
application for leave to appeal which originated in the sixth
judicial circuit, Macon County (see 155 Ill. 2d R. 308), an
action to which the railroad is a party. The railroad requested
that this court find that the Act is unconstitutional and order the
appellate court, Fifth District, to transfer the Rule 308
application to the Fourth District. Respondent, Mary E. LaBree,
opposes the railroad's motion in this court.
In Docket No. 83312, movant, Linda Utsler, filed her appeal
from the sixth judicial circuit in Moultrie County with the
appellate court, Fifth District, pursuant to the Act. The
defendants in the case, Patrick Pitzel and Bennett Grain
Company, sought to have the appeal docketed in the Fourth
District, where it would have been docketed prior to the passage
of the Act. Utsler opposed the motion and filed a motion for a
supervisory order in this court. She seeks to have this court
extend its administrative order in Dainty to all appellate
districts, pending a final determination as to the constitutionality
of the Act. Respondents, Pitzel and Bennett, oppose Utsler's
motion in this court, arguing that the Act is unconstitutional.
Meanwhile, on May 7, 1997, the Illinois State Bar
Association (ISBA) filed a complaint in the circuit court in
Macoupin County against defendants Darryl Pratscher and Mike
Mathis in their respective capacities as clerk of the Fourth
District of the appellate court and circuit clerk of Macoupin
County. The allegations contained in the ISBA's complaint
essentially mirrored those contained in the Boyle complaint filed
in Cook County. However, the ISBA also sought a temporary
restraining order and filed a motion to certify a class which
included all appellate and circuit clerks in Illinois. On May 13,
1997, defendant Pratscher moved to dismiss the action.
Defendant Mathis appeared personally and with counsel, but
declined to file a responsive pleading. The circuit court denied
the motion to dismiss, denied the motion for a temporary
restraining order, and granted the motion to certify a class
consisting of all appellate and circuit court clerks in Illinois.
Both sides ultimately moved for judgment. In finding that the
Act was unconstitutional in its entirety, the circuit court
expressly adopted the circuit court of Cook County's ruling in
the Boyle litigation. The court permanently enjoined defendants
and all members of the class from implementing the Act, but
stayed the effect of the order for 21 days. Defendant Pratscher
appealed to this court. 134 Ill. 2d R. 302. We consolidated his
appeal (Docket No. 83404) with the previously discussed actions
for supervisory orders on June 26, 1997. Moreover, during the
pendency of this appeal, we allowed the Chicago Bar
Association to file a brief as an amicus curiae.
The common question, of course, in each of the causes
before us today is whether the various provisions of the Act
comport with our state constitution. Defendant Pratscher, movant
Utsler, and the opponents in the remainder of the motions for
supervisory orders (hereinafter collectively referred to as
defendants) maintain that all sections of the Act are
constitutional except those which relate to Cook County.
Defendants further argue that the constitutional portions of the
Act are severable from the unconstitutional portions. Plaintiff,
ISBA, opponent to the motion for supervisory order Patrick
Pitzel and Bennett Grain Company, and the remaining movants
for supervisory orders, and amicus (hereinafter collectively
referred to as plaintiffs) argue that the Act is unconstitutional in
its entirety and that no portions are severable.

ANALYSIS
The Cook County Provisions
As noted above, sections 5, 10, 15, and 20 of the Act create
three distinct districts in Cook County for the express purpose
of electing supreme court justices. 705 ILCS 21/5, 10, 15, 20
(West 1996). Defendants concede, however, that these
provisions run afoul of article VI, section 2, of our state
constitution, as previously interpreted by this court. See People
ex rel. Chicago Bar Ass'n v. State Board of Elections, 136 Ill. 2d 513, 532 (1990). In State Board of Elections, this court
unanimously held that legislation which subdivided Cook
County for the purpose of electing appellate judges was
unconstitutional. In so holding, this court noted that prior to the
1962 amendments to the 1870 Constitution, the supreme and
appellate courts were treated differently with regard to the way
in which judges were elected to each respective court. State
Board of Elections, 136 Ill. 2d at 530. The 1962 amendment to
the judicial article, however, wrought extensive changes to the
judiciary and to the way in which appellate court judges were
elected. One of the changes affected the manner in which
supreme and appellate court judges were elected--both courts
were to share the same five judicial boundaries. State Board of
Elections, 136 Ill. 2d at 530. The ratification of the 1970
Constitution did not alter any of the changes made in 1962.
Indeed, this court noted that during the constitutional convention
in 1970, "repeated emphasis" was placed on the fact that the
judicial districts and supreme court organization provisions
remained unchanged from the 1962 constitutional amendments.
State Board of Elections, 136 Ill. 2d at 530. Accordingly, we
explained that "taken as a whole, the presentation of the
Committee of the Judiciary and the resulting dialogue on the
convention floor indicate that Cook County was to remain a
single, undivided district for the selection of both supreme and
appellate judges." For this reason, we concluded that any
legislation which subdivided Cook County for purposes of
electing appellate court judges could not stand. State Board of
Elections, 136 Ill. 2d at 523.
Although defendants note that the legislation at issue in this
case concerns the election of judges to the supreme court from
Cook County, as opposed to appellate court judges, they
concede that this court's analysis in State Board of Elections
would apply equally to the election of supreme court judges.
Given defendants' concession, we see no reason to reexamine
the validity of our previous holding with regard to the
subdivision of Cook County for the purpose of electing supreme
court justices. Accordingly, we affirm the circuit court's finding
that the provisions of the Act which impact Cook County are
invalid.

The Reconfiguration of Districts Two through Five
Generally, once this court holds a provision of an act
unconstitutional, as we have just done, our inquiry would next
focus on whether the invalid portion may be severed from the
remainder of the challenged legislation--if severance is not
possible, the entire legislation must fall. See, e.g., State Board
of Elections, 136 Ill. 2d at 532-33; City of Chicago Heights v.
Public Service Co., 408 Ill. 604, 610 (1951). Relying on this
precedent, defendants argue that if the Cook County provisions
of the Act are deemed invalid, the Act's severability clause
renders the remaining provisions in full force and effect. In this
respect, defendants correctly identify section 55 of the Act as a
specific severability clause. Section 55 provides the following:
"To the extent that any provision of this Act is found
to be unconstitutional, that provision alone shall be
deemed of no force and effect and all other provisions
of this Act shall remain in full force and effect." Pub.
Act 89--719, sec. 55, eff. March 7, 1998.
We need not, however, address defendants' contentions
regarding the severability of the Cook County provisions
because even if we were to agree that those provisions are
capable of severance, the Act contains a second constitutional
infirmity which nevertheless renders it unconstitutional in its
entirety. Specifically, the provisions of the Act that redistrict
judicial districts two through five are unconstitutional in that
they improperly split several judicial circuits amongst multiple
judicial districts. Moreover, as we explain in greater detail in the
last section of our analysis, the residue of the Act cannot be
severed from all of the invalid provisions without doing violence
to the General Assembly's overall intent in passing the Act.
As noted elsewhere in this opinion, the Act repeals the
Judicial Districts Act and redraws the geographic boundaries for
judicial districts two through five. Although the legislature, in
the Act, again divided the four districts by county, seven judicial
circuits are divided amongst two or more judicial districts. For
example, under the previously existing law, all four of the
counties which comprise the Fourteenth Judicial Circuit were
within the Third Judicial District. Under the Act, two of the
counties remain in the Third Judicial District, one county is in
the Fourth Judicial District, and one county is in the Second
Judicial District. Plaintiffs view such redistricting as
unconstitutional because a circuit must be contained entirely
within a single judicial district. They argue that the plain
language of the Constitution clearly establishes that the judicial
circuits are the "building blocks" of our state court system.
According to plaintiffs, a group of circuits are combined to
create an appellate district, and the districts, when combined,
encompass the entire state. Defendants, on the other hand,
contend that neither the Constitution nor the debates at the
Constitutional Convention of 1970 require such a result. They
counter that the applicable language in the Constitution is not as
clear an indication of the intent as plaintiffs suggest. Rather,
defendants view the issue as one "shrouded" in ambiguity and
that this court must, therefore, resolve any doubts in favor of the
constitutionality of the statute.
This court has long recognized that the meaning of any
given constitutional provision depends on the common
understanding of the citizens who, by ratifying the Constitution,
"gave it life." Kalodimos v. Village of Morton Grove, 103 Ill. 2d 483, 492 (1984) (and cases cited therein). We therefore begin
our analysis, as we must, by giving effect to the plain language
of the Constitution, for it is the language itself which provides
the best evidence of what the drafters intended to convey to the
citizens for ratification. Sayles v. Thompson, 99 Ill. 2d 122, 125
(1983). The following constitutional provisions are particularly
relevant to our discussion:
"The State is divided into five Judicial Districts for
the selection of Supreme and Appellate Court Judges.
The First Judicial District consists of Cook County. The
remainder of the State shall be divided by law into four
Judicial Districts of substantially equal population, each
of which shall be compact and composed of contiguous
counties." Ill. Const. 1970, art. VI, sec. 2.
"Appeals from final judgments of a Circuit Court are
a matter of right to the Appellate Court in the Judicial
District in which the Circuit Court is located." Ill.
Const. 1970, art. VI, sec. 6.
"The State shall be divided into Judicial Circuits
consisting of one or more counties. The First Judicial
District shall constitute a Judicial Circuit. The Judicial
Circuits within the other Judicial Districts shall be as
provided by law. Circuits composed of more than one
county shall be compact and of contiguous counties.
The General Assembly by law may provide for the
division of a circuit for the purpose of selection of
Circuit Judges and for the selection of Circuit Judges
from the circuit at large." Ill. Const. 1970, art. VI, sec.
7(a).
"Each Judicial Circuit shall have one Circuit Court
with such number of Circuit Judges as provided by
law." Ill. Const. 1970, art. VI, sec. 7(b).
We regard the language in the Constitution as a limitation upon
the legislature's authority and not as a grant of power. As a
result, the General Assembly is free to enact any legislation not
expressly prohibited by the Constitution. See State Board of
Elections, 136 Ill. 2d at 525.
Section 6 of the Constitution provides that appeals from
final judgments of a circuit court are a matter of right to the
appellate court in the judicial district in which the circuit court
is located. Section 7 of the Constitution concerns both circuit
courts and judicial circuits. Section 7(a) begins by first dividing
the state into judicial circuits, which may be comprised of more
than one county. The next two sentences set forth how the
judicial circuits shall be composed. The first of these two
sentences refers back to the judicial districts established earlier
in section 2 and requires that the "First Judicial District"
constitute one judicial circuit. The next sentence permits the
legislature to provide by law for the other judicial circuits within
the judicial districts. Finally, section 7(b) requires each judicial
circuit to have "one Circuit Court." Ill. Const. 1970, art. VI, sec.
7(b). Section 7, therefore, establishes a unified circuit court
structure in this state, comprised of judicial circuits resting
"within" the judicial districts.
It is the combination of sections 6 and 7 which renders
unconstitutional the splitting of a judicial circuit amongst
different districts. Section 6 requires that appeals from
judgments of the circuit court be heard "in the Judicial District
in which the Circuit Court is located." Ill. Const. 1970, art. VI,
sec. 6. However, the Constitution limits each judicial circuit to
only one "circuit court," even though a circuit may be comprised
of multiple counties, throughout which various circuit
courthouses may be situated. In order to comply with the
constitutional requirement that appeals from a circuit court must
be heard by the appellate court in the judicial district in which
the circuit court is located, the entire "judicial circuit" from
which the single circuit court is created must likewise be
contained wholly within a single judicial district.
Our interpretation of the foregoing constitutional language
is buttressed by comments made during the Constitutional
Convention of 1970. Although several members of the Judiciary
Committee disagreed with the concept of granting the General
Assembly the authority to divide circuits for the purpose of the
selection of circuit judges (see, e.g., 6 Record of Proceedings,
Sixth Illinois Constitutional Convention 1078 (hereinafter
Proceedings)), not one member of the Committee dissented from
the majority's proposal that
"[t]he present basic constitutional pattern of judicial
circuits remains unchanged. This means that Cook
County is defined as a permanent judicial circuit, with
the remainder of the state being divided by law ***
[and] the judicial circuits being encompassed wholly
within each of the four Appellate Court Districts outside
of Cook County." (Emphasis added.) 6 Proceedings 978.
In fact, the intent to keep intact circuits encompassed within a
judicial district is evinced by the verbatim transcript of the
debate of July 2, 1970. The chairman of the Judiciary
Committee, William Fay, stated that
"the present basic constitutional pattern of judicial
circuits remains unchanged. Cook County continues to
be defined as a separate permanent judicial circuit, the
remainder of the state being divided by law and the
judicial circuits consisting of one or more counties and
the judicial circuits being encompassed wholly within
each of the four appellate court districts outside of
Cook County." (Emphasis added.) 3 Proceedings 2278.
Thus, the constitutional debates reinforce the notion that judicial
circuits were not to be split amongst various judicial districts.
The insight provided by these comments is critical to our
task of discerning the intent of the drafters. As this court has
stated in the past, "[t]he meaning which the delegates to the
convention attached to a provision in the Constitution *** is
relevant in resolving ambiguities which may remain after
consulting the language of the provision. [Citations.] The reason
is that it is only with the consent of the convention that such
provisions are submitted to the voters in the first place."
Kalodimos, 103 Ill. 2d at 493. Defendants themselves
acknowledge the above-cited statements, but dismiss their
relevance by characterizing them as mere "fleeting references"
to the question at hand. Given defendants' contentions that the
issue of whether judicial circuits may be split and put into
different judicial districts is one "shrouded" in ambiguity, we
find this characterization inexplicable. The statements serve as
a clear indication that the language utilized in sections 6 and 7
was intended to prohibit the legislature from splitting the circuits
amongst several judicial districts. Sections 25, 30, 35, and 40 of
the Act, however, contravene this intent by dividing several
judicial circuits. For this reason, therefore, the sections are
unconstitutional.

Severability
We have now held that sections 5, 10, 15, 20, 25, 30, 35,
and 40 of the Act are invalid and must next determine whether
these invalid sections may be severed from the balance of the
Act. Although we acknowledge the severability clause contained
in section 55 of the Act, such a clause is not necessarily
conclusive as to whether the remainder of the Act can stand.
State Board of Elections, 136 Ill. 2d at 533; Commerical
National Bank v. City of Chicago, 89 Ill. 2d 45, 73 (1982);
Village of Oak Lawn v. Marcowitz, 86 Ill. 2d 406 (1981). A
court's authority to eliminate invalid elements of an act and yet
sustain its valid provisions derives not from legislative fiat, but
rather from the powers inherent in the judiciary. 2 N. Singer,
Sutherland on Statutory Construction sec. 44.08, at 522 (5th ed.
1993). In fact, the practice of holding statutory provisions
severable from those that are found to be invalid originated in
the judiciary "long before the innovation of separability clauses."
2 N. Singer, Sutherland on Statutory Construction sec. 44.08, at
521 (5th ed. 1993). Thus, although the use of severability
clauses has become a "common legislative drafting practice" in
"modern" times, it is "regarded as little more than a mere
formality." 2 N. Singer, Sutherland on Statutory Construction
sec. 44.08, at 521 (5th ed. 1993).
Due to the historical background of the severability clause,
courts view the clause not as "an `inexorable command,' " but
as an aid to statutory construction. Commercial National Bank,
89 Ill. 2d at 74, quoting Carter v. Carter Coal Co., 298 U.S. 238, 80 L. Ed. 1160, 56 S. Ct. 855 (1936). Indeed, this court
has long held that the test of severability is whether the valid
and invalid provisions of the Act are " `so mutually "connected
with and dependent on each other, as conditions, considerations
or compensations for each other, as to warrant the belief that the
legislature intended them as a whole, and if all could not be
carried into effect the legislature would not pass the residue
independently ***".' " Fiorito v. Jones, 39 Ill. 2d 531, 540-41
(1968), quoting Winter v. Barrett, 352 Ill. 441, 475 (1933). See
also Bowes v. Howlett 24 Ill. 2d 545, 550 (1962); Grennan v.
Sheldon, 401 Ill. 351, 360-61 (1948).
In this case, plaintiffs contend that the inclusion of the
clause merely establishes a presumption that the legislature
intended for an invalid provision to be severable. That
presumption, they contend, is overcome in this case upon
consideration of the expansive, interrelated purpose of the
various provisions contained within the whole of the Act.
Defendants disagree and argue that each piece of legislation
would have been enacted separately because each focused on
different problems inherent to the geographic region to which it
addresses. For example, the General Assembly subdivided the
First Judicial District for the purpose of electing supreme court
judges, but promulgated the provisions concerning judicial
districts two through five to alleviate the population imbalance
which exists in the districts outside of Cook County.
Defendants' arguments, however, fall wide of the mark. As we
explain below, the General Assembly's purpose in passing
Public Act 89--719, as reflected in the debates, was to provide
a total redistricting package which provided all the citizens of
the state with a state supreme court composed in accordance
with the mandates of both the United States and Illinois
Constitutions.
According to the legislative debates, Senate Bill 825 was
originally introduced in March 1995 as "An Act to amend the
Judicial Districts Act by changing Section 1." 89th Ill. Gen.
Assem., Senate Proceedings, January 7, 1997, at 18 (statement
of Senator Demuzio). At the time, section one of the Judicial
Districts Act provided that "[t]he First Judicial District consists
of the County of Cook." 705 ILCS 20/1 (West 1992). Thus, the
sole focal point of the proposed legislation was the First Judicial
District. Senate Bill 825, however, was amended in the House,
which refused to recede from its amendment. 89th Ill. Gen.
Assem., Senate Proceedings, January 7, 1997, at 81. As a result,
Senate Bill 825 moved to a joint Senate/House conference
committee for consideration. In the words of one the bill's
proponents, the joint Senate/House committee "gutted" the
March 1995 version of Senate Bill 825 and "replace[d]" it with
what was referred to as the "Joint Senate/House Judicial
Redistricting Plan." 89th Ill. Gen. Assem., House Proceedings,
January 7, 1997, at 71 (statements of Representative Kubik). In
addition to creating boundaries for Supreme Court Districts 1A,
1B, and 1C, the joint committee version of Senate Bill 825
created new boundaries for judicial districts two through five
and an implementation schedule for the transition between all
existing and proposed boundaries. Among other things, the new
version of Senate Bill 825 even contained an order of priority
to fill vacancies in the First Judicial District (referencing the
new subdivisions) if a vacancy should occur prior to the
completion of the implementation schedule and express language
which prohibited any future alteration of the seven districts
created in it. See 89th Ill. Gen. Assem., House Proceedings,
January 7, 1997, at 70-71 (statements of Representative Kubik).
The foregoing legislative history of Senate Bill 825
demonstrates that, during the joint Senate/House conference, the
Senate's original intent to focus only on Cook County for the
purpose of electing its three supreme court justices evolved into
a complete statewide restructuring of the judiciary for purposes
of electing all seven members of this court. The change in focus,
from the subdivision of the First District to a total statewide
reconfiguration of seven new districts, complete with roughly
equivalent populations, clearly denotes a unified, "mutually
connected" legislative scheme.[fn1] In fact, the proponents of
the legislation stated repeatedly that the impetus for this
legislation was to provide Illinois citizens, statewide, with a
system of electing supreme court justices that comported not
only with the Illinois Constitution, but with the equal protection
clause of the United States Constitution as well. See 89th Ill.
Gen. Assem., House Proceedings, January 7, 1997, at 75-82
(statements of Representative Kubik); 89th Ill. Gen. Assem.,
Senate Proceedings, January 7, 1997, at 83-87 (statements of
Senator Petka). These comments make clear that all of the
supreme court redistricting provisions (whether redrawing the
boundaries of districts two through five or subdividing district
one) were enacted in response to a perception that the current
system of electing supreme court justices was unconstitutional.
The final version of Senate Bill 825 which was drafted in the
joint Senate/House committee conference can only be viewed as
a compromise between the House and the Senate with respect
to the overall scope and content of Senate Bill 825. From this
we can only conclude that the bill was meant to be passed in its
entirety, not in pieces.
In our view, both the legislative history and the debates
support plaintiffs' assertion that the presumption of severability
created by the insertion of the severability clause in the Act has
been rebutted. Our examination of both the House and the
Senate proceedings substantiates that the overwhelming intent of
the legislature was to reconfigure the entire state judiciary with
respect to the supreme court in order to rectify certain perceived
constitutional irregularities. As such, all of the Act's provisions
are "inextricably bound." Fiorito, 39 Ill. 2d at 541. Furthermore,
we emphasize that, at this juncture, none of the provisions
remaining in the Act reconfigure or redistrict, in any way, the
judicial boundaries of the state. Even in cases where the valid
sections of an act are complete and capable of being executed,
the entire act will be declared void if, after striking the invalid
provisions, the act that remains does not reflect the legislature's
purpose in enacting the legislation. See Best v. Taylor Machine
Works, 179 Ill. 2d 367, ___ (1997) (and cases cited therein). In
this case, the legislative purpose in enacting Senate Bill 825 was
to redistrict the state judiciary with respect to the supreme court.
As we have just noted, the Act as it currently stands, with the
invalid portions removed, redistricts nothing. Any attempt by
this court to retain only bits and pieces of this dramatic
legislation would do violence to the legislative intent to change
the judicial districting of the entire state. Accordingly, because
the invalid portions of the Act cannot be severed from the
residue, the entire Act must fall.
As a final matter, this court is not unaware of the fact that
our state constitution requires the legislature to provide by law
for four judicial districts outside of Cook County "of
substantially equal population." Ill. Const. 1970, art. VI, sec. 2.
The legislative debates reflect that by enacting Senate Bill 825,
the members of the 89th General Assembly attempted to meet
their constitutional mandate. Nevertheless, this case marks the
second time in 10 years that legislative attempts at redistricting
have been declared unconstitutional by this court. See, e.g., State
Board of Elections, 136 Ill. 2d 513. In this respect, the
comments made by Justice Ryan in his special concurrence in
State Board of Elections still resonate today:
"[T]his court, the legislature and the executive are
bound by the limitations of the constitution. No matter
how politically or socially desirable a piece of
legislation may be, if it is contrary to the provisions of
our constitution, it cannot stand. Possibly, this court is
more conscious of constitutional restrictions than are the
other branches of our State government because we
must constantly square our holdings with the
constitution, whereas the legislative and executive
branches must often measure their positions by social
and political concerns. Nonetheless, the final product of
those branches must stand the constitutional test."
People ex rel. Chicago Bar Ass'n, 136 Ill. 2d at 539
(Ryan, J., specially concurring).
We are compelled, therefore, to reemphasize the importance of
insuring that reformatory legislation comport with the limitations
imposed by our state constitution.

CONCLUSION
We hold that the Judicial Redistricting Act of 1997 is void
in its entirety. Accordingly, the judgment of the circuit court in
Docket No. 83404 is affirmed. With respect to the motions for
supervisory orders filed in Docket Nos. 83223 and 83241, we
grant both motions. However, we deny the motion for
supervisory order filed in Docket No. 83312. In all three causes,
the proper appellate venue is the appellate court, Fourth District.

No. 83404--Judgment affirmed.
Nos. 83223 & 83241--Motions granted.
No. 83312--Motion denied.

JUSTICE NICKELS dissents.


[fn1] Representative Kubik stated that Senate Bill 825 was
drafted to create supreme court districts of substantially equal
population. When asked how the proposed legislation achieved
this goal in actual population figures, he responded that "[i]n
Judicial District 1A in Cook County, there's a population of
1,701,624 people. In Judicial District 1B in the County of Cook,
there's a population of 1,701,541. In Judicial District 1C in
Cook County, there is a population of 1,701,902 people. In
Judicial District 2, the population of the district is 1,571,602. In
Judicial District 3, the population is 1,587,604. In Judicial
District 4, the population is 1,573,661. And in Judicial 5, the
population is 1,592,688 people." 89th Ill. Gen. Assem., House
Proceedings, January 7, 1997, at 81. The fact that a difference
of only 130,300 exists between the smallest district and the
largest district points not only to the conclusion that these
provisions were drafted together as a "whole" package, but were
intended to be considered in toto as well.