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Il Supreme Court dismisses red light camera case


Red light cameras will continue issuing tickets in Chicago and other parts of Illinois. The Illinois Supreme Court had been considering a constitutional challenge to the cameras, but Thursday the court dismissed the case.

It's rare for the Supreme Court to hear oral arguments but then dismiss a case without actually deciding on it one way or the other. Here, two of the Court's seven members recused themselves. That leaves five justices, but the Illinois Constitution says four have to agree in order to reach a decision.

In a one-paragraph opinion, the court says “the remaining members of the court are divided." Thus, no opinion.

A class-action lawsuit argued Chicago did not have the legal authority to issue tickets for moving violations, but lower courts disagreed. The Supreme Court’s dismissal of the case leaves in place an appellate-court order that had found the cameras were OK under the state Constitution. 

Members of the court typically do not say why they're recusing themselves from a case, and this is no exception. But Justice Anne Burke stepped aside; she's married to Ald. Ed Burke, a prominent member of the Chicago City Council.

Brian Mackey formerly reported on state government and politics for NPR Illinois and a dozen other public radio stations across the state. Before that, he was A&E editor at The State Journal-Register and Statehouse bureau chief for the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin.