Monday, February 3, 2014
I admit to being ignorant of the backstory, but the Taxpayers United of America suit against an Illinois school district for pushing a referendum to raise additional school funds strikes me as absurd. The referedum failed, so it is unclear to me why the plaintiffs would have continued to press the case, except to teach the district a lesson about raising education revenues.
The Taxpayers United of America alleged that “defendant and its members proceeded with the referendum knowing that it was misleading and understated the amount of the property tax increase, and that they engaged in illegal electioneering to promote an affirmative vote on the referendum.” Peraica v. Riverside-Brookefield High Sch. Dist. No. 208, 999 N.E.2d 399, 403 (Ct. App. Ill. 2013).
The trial court dismissed the plaintiff’s complaint, and the court of appeals affirmed. The court of appeals held that the plaintiffs failed to establish a violation of §1983 of the Civil Rights Act because they failed to recognize any violation of their constitutional rights. Instead, ““the crux of Plaintiffs' constitutional claim appears to be that they ‘were forced to struggle against the public funds' that defendant supposedly spent in support of the referendum.” Id. at 406. The court, relying on Kidwell v. City of Union, 462 F.3d 620,626 (6th Cir. 2006) noted that “The natural outcome of government speech is that some constituents will be displeased by the stance their government has taken. Displeasure does not necessarily equal unconstitutional compulsion, however, and in most cases the electoral process—not First Amendment litigation—is the appropriate recourse for such displeasure.”