Lawsuits against state can be filed in only two counties under measure signed by Gov. J.B. Pritzker

June 30, 2023

On June 6, 2023, Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker signed into law a measure that could make it more difficult for Illinois citizens to challenge their state’s laws.

The bill requires lawsuits that challenge the constitutionality of either Gov. Pritzker’s executive orders or the state legislature’s laws to be filed only in Cook County or Sangamon County. Sangamon County is home to the state capitol, Springfield, while Cook County serves as an unofficial second seat of Illinois government, as it includes the state’s largest metropolitan area, Chicago.

The bill passed easily. Supporters of the bill argue its necessity in order to prevent venue shoppers from seeking more favorable outcomes and to conserve the resources of the Office of the Illinois Attorney General. Opposition to the new law calls it an attempt by Gov. Pritzker and Attorney General Raoul to direct constitutional challenges to courts they consider more likely to favor their administration.

Since the COVID-19 pandemic, lawsuits have been filed in many Illinois counties challenging Gov. Pritzker’s executive orders related to the pandemic, as well as his more recent executive orders. The Governor recently signed an executive order seeking to abolish cash bail for individuals charged with criminal offenses and another executive order banning certain high powered semi-automatic firearms.

The new law limiting jurisdiction over constitutional challenges to the courts of either Sangamon or Cook Counties takes effect immediately. It presents potential logistical obstacles to individuals or groups aiming to challenge executive orders and state laws.

The attorneys at Rock, Fusco, and Connelly have litigated cases in both counties, and are admitted to practice law in the U.S. District Courts in all three federal districts in Illinois, if necessary.

For more information on what this new law could mean for your potential constitutional challenges to executive orders, contact the qualified attorneys at Rock, Fusco & Connelly, LLC.