SPRINGFIELD — U.S. Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan has denied a request from David Gill that would have allowed him to appear on the Nov. 8 ballot as an independent candidate in Illinois’ 13th Congressional District.
Gill appealed to the Supreme Court on Friday after the U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeals blocked a lower court order that would have assured him a spot on the ballot alongside Republican U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis of Taylorville and Democratic challenger Mark Wicklund of Decatur.
The Bloomington physician said in a written statement Monday that he’s “again very disappointed for the voters” in the district and that he plans to appeal to a different Supreme Court justice, which is allowed under court rules.
“My victory in federal court on Aug. 25 was clear and decisive,” he said. “To watch our judicial system grant a temporary reprieve to the state, a reprieve that lasts long enough to have the election go on without me, proves the point of my independent congressional campaign: We live within a rigged system, designed to protect the major parties and the large financial concerns that sponsor them.”
Gill, who’s run for Congress four times previously as a Democrat, filed a federal lawsuit challenging the state’s signature requirement for independent congressional candidates after he collected fewer than 8,500 of the 10,754 valid signatures he needed on his nominating petitions.
Gill contends that the requirement is unconstitutional because it’s out of line with the requirements for major party candidates. Davis and Wicklund each had to collect fewer than 740 signatures.
U.S. District Judge Sue Myerscough ordered last month that the Illinois State Board of Elections allow Gill to appear on the ballot because he and his supporters would be irreparably harmed if he were excluded. The Chicago-based appeals court subsequently blocked that order, and the elections board voted unanimously Sept. 19 to remove him.
When Gill’s attorneys filed their appeal Friday, they acknowledged that going to the Supreme Court is always a long shot but said they’d exhausted their other options. The appeals court declined to reconsider its decision or to grant Gill a prompt hearing on his case before Election Day.
Kagan reviewed Gill’s request because she oversees the 7th Circuit.