CHICAGO (CBS) — The Illinois Supreme Court has dismissed a lawsuit challenging the legality of Chicago’s red light camera system, after two justices recused themselves from the case, and the rest couldn’t agree on a ruling.
Attorney Mike Reagan, in arguments before the high court in the spring, said the program was illegal from the start in 2003, because the state had not authorized such an enforcement program.
“Chicago did not have municipal authority to enact its red light camera program in 2003. The legislature has expressly limited by statute the authority of any municipal entity, including home-rule entities such as the city, to establish and enforce traffic laws,” he said.
Further, Reagan said the state’s red light camera law, meant to correct that situation, arbitrarily applied only to eight counties near Chicago and St. Louis.
“It’s not only nakedly local, but in analytical terms, it then creates another problem, which is it creates a closed-end class; naming these eight counties, which is such an anomaly in the Illinois statutes,” he said.
The city argued it made sense to limit the red light camera law to counties with more traffic.
Two justices – Anne Burke and Lloyd Karmeier – recused themselves. The remaining five justices were split on the decision, and unable to come up with the four votes needed to render an opinion, so the case was dismissed, meaning red light cameras remain legal.
The one-paragraph opinion from the Supreme Court did not explain why Burke or Karmeier recused themselves, or provide any insight into the remaining justices’ stance on the legality of red light cameras.