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Diversity Leadership Council Newsletter
The newsletter of the ISBA’s Diversity Leadership Council

June 2012, vol. 6, no. 1

Now every article is the start of a discussion. If you're a member of the Illinois State Bar Association, you can comment on any of the articles that appear below.

In This Issue…

  • Reflections of incoming President John E. Thies
    A message from John E. Thies, who will serve as ISBA President during the 2012-13 term.
  • Diversity is both seen and unseen
    As we strive to create a more inclusive profession, we need to be mindful that we cannot always see diversity.
  • Diversity Leadership Fellows Program continues to identify future ISBA leaders
    The ISBA’s Diversity Leadership Fellows program just completed its second full year and has been making strides in increasing diversity in the ISBA’s section councils and committees.
  • The Judicial Intern Opportunity Program
    Now celebrating over 10 years of success, JIOP was established in response to a study released in February 2000, which reported that only 15 percent of all judicial clerkships are held by minorities—despite the fact that minorities make up 30 percent of the nation’s population and 20 percent of the law student population.
  • Street Law’s Legal Diversity Pipeline Program
    This year Street Law, Inc., celebrated 40 years of providing accessible, engaging, and interactive programs to empower students and communities to become active, legally-savvy contributors to society. 
  • Obama supports same-sex marriage in May 9th interview
    On May 9, 2012, ABC News’ Robin Roberts interviewed President Obama and during that interview he stated for the first time that he now supports same-sex marriage. Below is a small portion of that history-making interview and his thoughts on equal rights and related legal issues.
  • ISBA invests in the Pipeline
    The ISBA/JTBF Law & Leadership Institute is a statewide initiative to assist students from minority, ethnic, and other groups who are currently underrepresented in the legal professions achieve academic success and aspire to a career in the law.
  • E. Lynn Grayson wins Diversity Leadership Award
    In recognition of her long-standing, continuing and exceptional commitment to the critical importance of diversity within the Illinois legal community, its judiciary and the Illinois State Bar Association, E. Lynn Grayson is the 2012 winner of the ISBA Diversity Leadership Award. 

Related Court Cases

Retaliation
Mendez v. The Town of Cicero

Plaintiff filed suit alleging that Town retaliated against her for reporting alleged sexual harassment by deputy police superintendent toward a subordinate, by transferring her from executive administrative assistant to superintendent to clerk in building department. Jury found that transfer was retaliatory, but did not award her damages for alleged emotional distress and lost future earnings. Court separately ruled Plaintiff was entitled to reinstatement and awarded her $330,412 in attorney fees. Award of attorney fees was reasonable. Fees are not required to be proportional to amount of Plaintiff's own award. Reinstatement vindicated Plaintiff's right under Human Rights Act to be free from retaliation for reporting sexual harassment. Plaintiff's refusal to accept Town's unilateral decision to transfer her was not a pretext to inflate attorney fees and costs.  (FITZGERALD SMITH and LAVIN, concurring.)

FOID Act
Baumgartner v. Greene County State's Attorney's Office

Plaintiff applied to Illinois State Police (ISP) for a FOID card but was denied based on his criminal history, which included misdemeanor conviction for domestic battery. Court granted ISP's request to intervene, and denied Plaintiff's petition. Plaintiff failed to meet his burden to prove his entitlement to relief under Section 10 of FOID Act, including that relief would not be contrary to federal law. Record is sufficient to support ISP's claim that Plaintiff did not serve time in jail after his conviction and sentence for domestic battery; he was granted credit for days served, which was length of his sentence. Thus, he did not lose his civil rights, and thus he could have no civil rights restored. Thus, Plaintiff cannot take advantage of Section 921(a)(33)(B)(ii) of federal Gun Control Act's "civil rights restored" exemption, and thus remains under a federal firearm disability. (STEIGMANN and APPLETON, concurring.)

Race Discrimination
People ex rel. Madigan v. Wildermuth

(Court opinion corrected 4/12/16.) Attorney General filed a complaint alleging that Defendants (attorney and realtor) violated Section 3-102(B) of the Illinois Human Rights Act by intentionally targeting predatory practices, in loan modifications for real estate,  against minorities by aiming their advertising at African-Americans and Latinos. The State may claim a violation under the Illinois Human Rights Act pursuant to a reverse redlining theory where it did not allege that the defendant acted as a mortgage lender. (REYES and GORDON, concurring.)

Mandamus
Cebertowicz v. Madigan

Plaintiff, an inmate at DOC, filed pro se complaint for mandamus relief, demanding that the AG investigate his claims his civil rights were being violated by DOC employees who refused to provide him with his "constitutional right to a religious diet". Illinois Civil and Equal Rights Enforcement Act contains no consequence for noncompliance, and thus the statute is discretionary, not mandatory. AG has no clear duty to act, and Plaintiff has no clear right to requested relief.  Thus, court properly dismissed Plaintiff's mandamus complaint. (STEIGMANN and APPLETON, concurring.)

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