It's official: State legislative Democrats have won for the next 10 years.
The new legislative district map is a gerrymandered mess designed to rig state House and Senate elections 10 years in advance. But as inadvisable as that may be, a panel of federal judges has ruled that it is not illegal.
So the state legislative map drawn by Democratic House Speaker Michael Madigan and his minions will stand. Republicans are making the usual noises about appealing the judges' decision. But they're whistling past the graveyard.
The judges' ruling foreshadows the decision in a second GOP lawsuit challenging the Madigan-drawn congressional maps designed to return majority control of the state's U.S. House delegation to the Democrats.
The judges are operating under the theory that the spoils of political war go to the victors. Because Democrats control the governorship and both houses of the Legislature, they had the legal right to draw the new political map any way they wished.
Madigan and Co. wanted to shape legislative district boundary lines in a way that will guarantee Democrats majority control of the 118 state House districts and the 59 Senate districts for another 10 years, just as they did in 2001.
It worked then, and it probably will work again, starting with the 2012 election.
Although probably resigned to permanent minority status, Republican legislative leaders challenged the maps on legal grounds. But the federal courts have been amazingly tolerant of political maps in the past, and they were again. Unfortunately, the court's decision overlooks the public's interest in and benefit from a competitive political environment in which either party can win majority control of the legislature. But the public interest is subordinate to the interests of the politicians.