By John Boch

Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan just lost the U.S. Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals decision in Shepard v Madigan which struck down Illinois’ prohibition on carrying firearms outside the home. It’s now her decision whether or not to appeal the case to the U.S. Supreme Court in an effort to have the case overturned. Complicating the equation is Lisa Madigan’s political ambitions . . .

As the daughter of the long-time Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan, she’s been widely seen as the next governor in Illinois. It’s hers to lose, some would say. She may even have aspirations of becoming president someday.

However, this case is a complication she didn’t need. Her name is on the case, further tying her to a potential landmark civil rights decision on par with Brown v. Board of Education. If she allows the ruling to stand, she will upset her core base of support among the staunchly gun-hating City of Chicago’s urban voters. Not to mention Illinois’ anti-self-defense politicians like Governor Pat Quinn, who were going to hang their hat on gun control as a core reelection campaign issue.

If she appeals the case, she risks a quadruple whammy:

  • She will alienate herself from pro-gun downstate Democrats
  • She’ll deepen the geographic rift between Chicago Democrats and the pro-gun downstate Democrats
  • She’ll also look inept when she likely loses the very high profile, landmark Supreme Court case. She’ll even have her name it, further tarnishing her image for eternity
  • She’ll also bring down anti-right-to-carry laws in California, Hawaii, New York, New Jersey, Maryland and a host of other restrictive “may issue” states, which will surely render her persona non grata with the far left national Democratic leaders who favor unconstitutional gun laws

This is truly a case of damned if she does and damned if she doesn’t. It would seem the most expedient thing to do would be ask for an en banc review from the Seventh Circuit and when she loses there, to leave it alone and move on.

There’s little doubt Madigan’s phone has been ringing non-stop since the decision was handed down. On one side are a handful of powerful supporters of gun restrictions from around the country, encouraging her not to appeal and possibly bring down anti-self-defense laws in other states. On the other side are Land of Lincoln state and local officials urging her to appeal the case to the Supreme Court.

We’ll all just have to wait and see which side prevails in Lisa’s world and what her decision will be. In the meantime, mark June 9th on your calendars. That’s the date Illinois’ prohibition on right-to-carry ends.

John Boch is president of Guns Save Life. A version of this article originally appeared at the GSL site. 

24 Responses to Lisa Madigan: Between a Rock and a Hard Place on IL CCW

  1. I don’t see it that way. She is a Democrat. From a political standpoint, she has to go forward to the Supreme Court. The vast majority of Democrats would back her. Even if she loses (which I hope she does), she will have made a stand for her beliefs in the eyes of her Democrats. The number of “pro-gun downstate Democrats” is only a handful when compared to the majority of her Democrat Backers. So I would not be surprised at all to see her pursue this, especially after recent news events.

  2. ” She’ll also bring down anti-right-to-carry laws in California, Hawaii, New York, New Jersey, Maryland and a host of other restrictive “may issue” states…”

    Would this be an automatic change for these other states or would they have to have their own time in court? I am sure this is a stupid question that I should be able to answer for myself. I only ask because if SCOTUS is able to make a ruling as to this being unconstitutional, then I dont understand why we are so worried about gun control and bans.

    • If the SCOTUS finds that the constitution grants the right to carry outside the home, specifically demanding shall issue, then all states must follow suit.

      The problem is how far the government can go around “keeping and bearing” to reduce people carrying. This involves bans of weapons not fit for self defense (after all, who needs a military rifle) or magazine size (you don’t need 17 rounds to fend off a mugger). Those are the arguments they will use and it’s why we are worried.

      • Maybe Im pushing it here but thoes HSLD Operators we shun could be an ally regarding that issue. Maybe?

        Of course the antis will label them as extremists but we all know its pointless to argue with the antis. But maybe if we welcome the HSLD Ops, the fence sitters could see them as “experts” and take them seriously.

        Point being, some may not take the average Joe CCW seriously where as the guy with the training company may appeal more.

        Kinda wish I had a chance to meet Paul Gomez, he always seemed no BS to me and backed his statements.

  3. One thing we can be certain of, she will not base her decision on what is right. She will base it on her benefit. The constitution of the US means nothing to her, only her career.

  4. This isn’t a Democratic or Republican thing. Remember that Paul Helmke is a Republican, and Michael Bloomingbutt’s whatever it’s convenient to be at the time. The question here is whether the person, politician or otherwise, believes in individual rights or not.

    It is beautiful to watch control freaks get smacked.

  5. I am pretty confident that she will appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court for two reasons. First of all, she probably figures that she has a decent chance of prevailing. Second, it will delay implementation for another one to two years.

    It’s almost like she cannot lose. If the U.S. Supreme Court strikes down the decision, she will be a huge hero to many Democrats and all gun control proponents. That is a tremendously huge upside potential. And if the Supreme Court upholds the decision, she can tell everyone how hard she fought and that it isn’t her fault … thus preserving her political aspirations.

    I don’t put much stock in peer pressure. Why does she care about other states that would also lose (e.g. California, New Jersey, New York, Maryland, Hawaii, etc.)? They won’t affect her immediate aspirations in Illinois.

    And as for fears of alienating downstate Democrats who want concealed carry, I see that as irrelevant as well. Didn’t a majority elect the current governor Quinn knowing full well that he staunchly opposes any way, shape, or form of concealed carry? If that majority elected Quinn, why wouldn’t the same majority elect Madigan? To many people in the Chicago metro area — where all the votes are — have been drinking the gun control Kool-Aide for too long. They are not suddenly going to oppose Madigan for continuing her gun control efforts.

    • The problem is that the “majority” you speak of that elected Quinn consists of two counties-one downstate county and Cook, which contains Chicago.

      So long as Chicago out-populates the rest of Illinois combined their control over the governorship is assured. The problem for Madigan is that if she appeals and loses, her political career on the national stage is finished. If she doesn’t appeal, her political career in the Chicago Machine is finished.

  6. The budget of the federal government and state governments should be no larger than 5% of taxable revenue. Keep them small. Keep them controllable.

  7. I would love for this to go to the Supreme Court but I don’t want it delayed because that isn’t fair to Illinios residents who have been screwed. I’m thinking that if it goes to the Supreme Court, we all will have the right to carry recognized nationally by the court. That will end any potential bans later on.

  8. Her best approach is to file for an en banc hearing, which might give her a second bite at the apple. While the Circuit is deciding whether or not to grant a rehearing, she can be consulting with the Joyce Foundation, the master puppeteer, which will tell her what to do.

  9. Lisa Madigan wanted to make all Illinois FOID (gun permit) holders’ information available publicly on a website some time ago. She felt that this was public information and that no one should object to its being released to whoever wanted access to it. That was when gun owners offered her the opportunity to put her personal telephone information, address, car numbers and details of her family on a public database as well, since car plates, phone numbers and addresses are public information too. It didn’t take too long for this suggestion to get out into the media, and, the state establishment quickly found a procedural reason for not making FOID details public, after all.

    Expect a New Jersey or New York style solution. Concealed carry will become legal, but it will only be for her cronies, for Aldermen and those with connections. Of course, this being Chicago, it will open the doors for corruption in handing out CCW permits. I doubt the Democrats will refuse one more avenue to exploit in building relationships, getting funding and everything else that they do through the medium of CCW permits.

  10. I think that Madigan’s best option is to petition for en banc hearing. It has the least downside risk, and the highest potential upside risk. One, it will delay implementation of the 7th Circuit decison, and possibly even overturn it (although that is unlikely). Unless the petition is denied, this gives here political cover for a year or more until the case is reargues, resubmitted, and an opinion issued, and it does not waive an eventual petition for cert to the SCOTUS somewhere down the road. Her political asperations are furthered by delay.
    Second, the decision holds merely that there is a right to carry and absolute bans do not pass constitutional muster under any test. But the big question left unanswered–because it has yet to be presented–is whether this means open or concealed carry, may issue or shall issue. That is left for legislative action. I don’t think that there is any way that Illinois will enact a shall issue statute or allow the 7th Circuit decision to go into effect (as that would have the effect of FOID carry). [The FOID regs requirements will remain in effect. All I know about them is that one is required to have a FOID card in order to own, purchase or possess firearms; I don’t know what is required to get the card.] A political solution will obviate the need for a cert petition, will provide her political coverage, and resolve the case without shall issue.

    • FOID requires filling out a form, sending in your money, the state does a criminal background check and you get the card. It may be more interesting than you think because a small majority of the IL Legislature is pro shall issue which the Governor will Veto and with a deadline who blinks?

  11. I think what people may be missing here is the 7th circuit is considered a “conservative” circuit, a Posner is a very well-respected jurist. He is one of the fathers of the risk/benefit analysis of legal decisions. I don’t see the 7th circuit overturning his decision, and frankly, I suspect, given my read of Posner’s other cases, is that he looked at McDonald, Ezell, and other 7th circuit cases and thought about writing an opinion that would not get overturned. Yes, an appeal for en banc could buy a little time, but . . . the clock is ticking and unless they issued a stay, June 9th will be here before you know it. In fact, I think another risk that poor Lisa has to face is the 7th circuit won’t grant a stay and then force the legislature to have a law ready and approved. Otherwise, she can delay consideration and then buy more time for waiting for the legislature to write a law and appeal to the Supremes. I suspect the Supremes might give a limited stay and they could hear the case before they recessed in June, but more likely than not, Madigan’s ego will get the best of her and the Genie will be out of the bottle on June 9th.

  12. The biggest question is, if she appeals this and gets smacked down by the SCOTUS and they say that everyone has the right to carry (permitting that they’re not a felon and the other usual exemptions to gun ownership), would that mean D.C. would be forced to follow as well? I can just imagine the outrage among the ruling elite if the peasants on their doorstep were allowed to carry.

  13. Hopefully regardless of her actions the folks can push through some sort of shall issue. Or dead lock it and have it go constitutional.

  14. I am trying to figure out the song she sang best from her band Rush (who just got into the RnR hall of Fame…..decades too late). Congrats Lisa….er, wait, Geddy Lee? Sorry, never mind.

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