PEORIA — Attorneys for former U.S. Rep. Aaron Schock plan on asking the U.S. Supreme Court to intervene in the former congressman’s ongoing public corruption case.
In a motion filed Monday afternoon, Schock’s attorneys asked the Urbana-based U.S. District Judge Colin Bruce to continue a stay in the case while they file the paperwork asking the high court to review portions of the case. If the Supreme Court agrees to hear the case, then the proceedings in Illinois — including setting a trial date — would be on hold until the justices rule on the matter.
At issue is a motion by Schock's lawyers to have the charges against the Peoria Republican tossed out. In late May, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago, which oversees federal courts in Illinois, denied Schock’s motion to dismiss the charges, in part saying they lack jurisdiction.
“The Seventh Circuit acknowledged that its opinion creates a conflict among the circuits about interlocutory appeals, in criminal cases, based on institutional arguments about the separation of powers,” the motion states.
And it's that conflict that Schock's attorneys hope will help them beat the odds. The Supreme Court likes to take cases that address a constitutional question or where conflicting opinions from different circuits can cause confusion.
It’s extremely rare for the Supreme Court to take a case. Each year, thousands ask the high court for a review of their legal proceedings. And less than 5 percent are accepted, according to records from the U.S. Supreme Court.
The timing could pan out well for Schock. With a vacancy on the high court that is expected to be filled by the November elections, it's possible the court could tilt farther to the right, something that could help Schock.
The 37-year-old Schock was indicted in November 2016 on charges of wire fraud, mail fraud, making false statements, filing a false tax return, theft of government funds and falsification of Federal Election Commission filings. The charges allege a course of conduct that began when Schock was first elected to Congress in 2008 and continued until October 2015, about six months after he resigned from office.
Bruce held the first five counts, which allege Schock was improperly reimbursed for mileage, don’t run afoul of the Rulemaking Clause. That clause doesn’t allow a judge to interpret rules imposed by the U.S. House of Representatives as a way to preserve the separation of powers.
Schock’s attorneys disagreed and appealed Bruce’s decision to the 7th Circuit, which handed down its decision in late May.
Andy Kravetz can be reached at (309) 686-3283 and firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @andykravetz.